NEW DELHI: India, very soon, could experience heat waves that could exceed the survivability limit of humans.
This startling revelation was made in a report by the World Bank.
According to the report, India will soon be one of the first countries in the world that will experience severe heatwaves that will break the human survivability limit.
Inda, over the past couple of decades, recorded several deaths due to intense heat waves.
The world bank report titled “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”, will be released during the two-day “India Climate and Development Partners’ Meet”.
“In April 2022, India was plunged into the grip of a punishing early spring heat wave that brought the country to a standstill, with temperatures in the capital, New Delhi, topping 46 degrees Celsius (114 degrees Fahrenheit). The month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded,” it said.
“In August 2021, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the Indian subcontinent would suffer more frequent and intense heat waves over the coming decade.
“The G20 Climate Risk Atlas also warned in 2021 that heat waves across India were likely to last 25 times longer by 2036-65 if carbon emissions remain high, as in the IPCC’s worst-case emission scenario,” the report said.
“Up to 75 percent of India’s workforce, or 380 million people, depend on heat-exposed labour, at times working in potentially life-threatening temperatures. …By 2030, India may account for 34 million of the projected 80 million global job losses from heat stress associated productivity decline,” the report said.
“A single temperature lapse in the journey can break the cold chain, spoiling fresh produce and weakening the potency of vaccines. With only 4 per cent of fresh produce in India covered by cold chain facilities, annual estimated food losses total USD 13 billion”, it said.
As temperatures rise across India, so will the demand for cooling. However, in a country where two-thirds of the population live on less than USD 2 a day, and where the average cost of an air-conditioning unit can vary between USD 260 and USD 500, air-cooling systems are a luxury available only to a few.” According to analysis presented in the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), only eight per cent of Indian households own air-conditioning units.
“Indoor and electric fans can help to maintain thermal comfort, but these too are expensive to buy and inefficient. As a result, many poor and marginalized communities across India are more vulnerable to extreme heat, living in inadequately ventilated, hot and crowded homes without proper access to cooling”, the report warned.