Ancient irrigation reservoirs vital amid erratic monsoon rains in Sri Lanka – Thomson Reuters Foundation

Sri Lanka has been increasingly witnessing erratic rain patterns that have had a debilitating  impact on the country’s vital agriculture production. Now research has shown that centuries old irrigation schemes spread wide in the rural areas can be used as a workable solution to the vagaries of these shifting rain patterns. – http://www.trust.org/item/20130702101105-pvwac/?source=hptop

Climate Change to Determine Economic Growth – Inter Press News Service

A new World Bank report  entitled ‘Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided’, detailing how global warming could affect sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia shows “the likely impacts of present day two-degree and four-degree-Celsius warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations.” [http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange]

South Asia with a population expected to at 2.2b by 2050 is at a particularly high risk. Here is one example – ““With a temperature increase of two to 2.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, by the 2050s reduced water availability for agricultural production may result in more than 63 million people no longer being able to meet their caloric demand by production in the river basins (of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra),”.

Read more at http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/climate-change-to-determine-economic-growth/

In Sri Lanka, the Tempest Comes Unannounced – Inter Press News Service

Early warning lags in Sri Lanka have proved fatal twice in the last 20 months for fishing communities along the south and western coasts. Twice, in November 2011 and June 2013, shallow water fishermen found themselves battling for their lives when the seas turned nasty suddenly. Like one survivor described, when the waves rose up and the sea howled   like a deranged monster. The latest tragedy at least has made the government take note and may be some good will come about. – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/in-sri-lanka-the-tempest-comes-unannounced/

Sri Lanka’s electricity price hike sparks interest in solar – Thomson Reuters Foundation

Sri Lanka’s electricity rates were hiked effective May. The revision is already forcing high-end domestic users to look at a much more environmental friendly alternative, solar. However experts say it is too early to predict whether the rate hike will influence mass movement to solar. Of the over 5m households connected to the national grid, only 3% are considered even border-line high-end users. My file for the Thomson Reuters Foundation –  http://www.trust.org/item/20130612114146-mfayx/?source=hptop

NATURE’S FURY UNLEASHED

A joint survey by the WFP and Sri Lanka government found that 31 percent of households affected by floods in early 2013 are severely food-insecure, while 44 percent of households are borderline food-insecure. Sixty-eight percent of total household expenditure is allocated to food. According to the World Bank, if a household spends more than 65 percent of its expenditure on food, the vulnerability to food insecurity is very high.Thirteen percent of flood-affected households were identified as having poor food consumption levels, and a third covered by the survey were found to have borderline food consumption scores. Currently, 41 percent of flood-affected households are adopting high and negative coping mechanisms such as skipping meals and limiting meal portions, eating less-preferred food, pawning assets and borrowing cash. This, the report says, indicates that households have had little time to recover after the drought, and that their food and livelihood security is becoming increasingly parlous. – http://lmd.lk/2013/06/01/climate-change-3/

The Himalayas Are Changing – for the Worse – Inter Press News Service

Last week all eyes were on the Himalayas’ highest peak – 29,000-foot Mt. Everest, whose summit is bisected by the China-Nepal border – in honor of the 60th anniversary of the first human ascent of the mountain.

But the momentous occasion presented as much cause for panic as for celebration, when images showing bare rock jutting out from under the receding ice caps called attention to the rapidly changing face of this majestic range.

Sudeep Thakuri, who led the Italian team of researchers, told IPS that the continuous and increased melting is most likely caused by rising temperatures. http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/the-himalayas-are-changing-for-the-worse/

The Sri Lankan Monsoon, Better Prepared Than Sorry – Inter Press News Service

After suffering flash-flooding and ensuing damages, Sri Lanka is now taking at least some measures to meet   the challenges thrown up by an erratic Monsoon. Experts say, it is just as well and more needs to be done. My report for IPS – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/the-sri-lankan-monsoon-better-prepared-than-sorry/

Fears Grow of a Himalayan Tsunami as Glaciers Melt – TIME

While attending the 2013 PANOS South Asia Climate Change Fellowship in Nepal last month, I was quite intrigued by the possibility of a ‘Himalayan Tsunami’. Having experienced the 2004 Asian Tsunami at dangerously close quarters, I wanted to pursue this straight out of hell disaster risk. Here is the resultant story that I did for TIME –  http://world.time.com/2013/05/27/fears-grow-of-a-himalayan-tsunami-as-glaciers-melt/