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Mere rise in temperature will reduce S. Asian crop yield, warns envoy

A mere rise in two to three degrees Celsius temperature would reduce 30 to 40 per cent of the crop yield in the South Asian region, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Dr. Peter Hayes warned recently.

Dr Hayes, scientist turned diplomat addressing participants at the concluding event of 'Climate Positive Action' project explained the hazards of climate change due to the global warming and his country's commitment in the fight against the emissions of Green House Gases(GHG) which is said to be the root cause of global warming.

According to Dr. Hayes, the sea level rise due to global warming would be detrimental for millions who live in low lying areas close to the sea.

"These are according to the most moderate predictions," he emphasised. Extreme weather events like heavy down pours, tornados, floods, El-ninos, landslides etc. would be rampant around the globe. "That's why Britain and the European Union take a leading role in the fight against climate change."

He emphasised the importance of political leadership in the fight against global warming.

"This is a global problem. We can't work in isolation. Caring for your city or village alone would not solve the problem," he reiterated.

The High Commissioner also highlighted opportunities created by the climate change. Referring to the emissions' free clean energy requirements, Dr. Hayes noted: "It has at the same time created a trillion dollar business."

He praised Sri Lanka's beauty. "Sri Lanka has an extraordinary beauty." However, he said it would be easily lost "if these resources are over exploited."

Referring to the project showcase where the selected project proposals have been displayed, the High Commissioner said opportunities had been now created for the rural people to find donors and potential investors. "This shows that they are not powerless in their fight against global warming."

"The temperature in London during this winter was unusually high as 18 degrees Celsius," Philip Rylah, Country Examination Manager of the British Council said. Attributing it as a possible effect of the climate change, he revealed that climate change is one of the programme areas of the British Council, apart from the intercultural dialogue and education.

The British Council studies the issue of Climate Change and builds up networks to work together to mitigate effects of global warming, he said.

Dr. Nimal Perera, technical consultant of the project introducing the project and its outcomes emphasised the need to change lifestyles of the people to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.

"If you turned to locally available fresh liquid milk instead of powdered milk, you will be saving energy; preventing large amount of fossil fuel from burning in the processing and the transport of the powdered milk," he explained.

He said that life style changes would reduce the emissions of gasses such as CO2 mitigating the effects of climate change. Dr. Perera noted that through the project students, teachers, farmers, etc. in rural areas in nine districts were educated on climate changes and its hazards such as heavy rains, long droughts, flash floods and landslides.

He noted that the project also assisted them to change their lifestyles and come up with alternative methods to reduce their vulnerability to the hazards such as long prevailing droughts or heavy rains at their homes, villages, schools and work places thus resulting in overall reduction in the emissions of green house gasses to the environment.

He said participants in the progarmme came out with these alternative methods in the form of project proposals.

Thirty three out of 35 proposals had been showcased to potential investors, donors agencies, banks and NGOs and INGOs, he said.

Dr. Anura Jayatilake, Director of the Climate Change and Global Affairs Division of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources also spoke.

The project was organised by the British Council, funded by the British High Commission and in technical partnership with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka.

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