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Monday, July 15, 2024

Now 90% of the India suffering with Heatwave “Danger Zone” threatening countries progress?

Heatwaves in India are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change, with over 90 percent of the country in the “extremely cautious” or “danger zone” of their impacts, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Ramit Debnath and colleagues at the University of Cambridge, also revealed that Delhi is particularly vulnerable to severe heatwave impacts, though its recent state action plan for climate change does not reflect this. It suggested that heatwaves have impeded India’s progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more significantly than previously thought.

Heatwaves claimed more than 17,000 lives in 50 years in India, according to a paper authored by M Rajeevan, former secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences, along with scientists Kamaljit Ray, S S Ray, R K Giri and A P Dimri. As per the report, extreme heat could ultimately lead to a 15 percent decline in “outdoor working capacity”, reduce the quality of life of up to 480 million people and cost 2.8 percent of GDP by 2050.

Further, heatwaves have caused more than 24,000 deaths since 1992 and have driven up air pollution and accelerated glacial melt in northern India. Recently, fourteen people died in Maharashtra due to sunstroke during an award ceremony, making it one of the highest death tolls from a single #heatwave-related event in the country’s history.

India is now “facing a collision of multiple, cumulative climate hazards” and extreme weather was observed almost every day last year from January to October, said the report. Meanwhile, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute warns that if this continues, by 2030, the country could lose between 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year. In 2023, India experienced its hottest February since record-keeping began in 1901. However, above-normal rainfall in March kept temperatures in check. March 2022 was the warmest ever and the third driest in 121 years. The year also saw the country’s third-warmest April since 1901. In India, about 75 percent of workers (around 380 million people) experience heat-related stress.

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