This is How Climate Change Suffocates India

Published May 16th, 2022 - 11:07 GMT
Rising Temperatures, Climate Change Pummel India
A boy bathes during a hot summer day in New Delhi on May 3, 2022. (Photo by Xavier GALIANA / AFP)

A heat wave exacerbated by global warming is suffocating India as the country reports record high temperatures around the country.

The India Meteorological Department said March 2022 was the warmest March the country has recorded in 122 years.

In an interview with the Turkish news publication Anadolu Agency, a researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology said, “The last March and April months have been the hottest over the century and May is expected to be hotter by 3 C than the average temperature in May.”

Throughout March, April and May India has routinely experienced days over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) with some regions hitting 46 C (115 F).

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations agency, warned that these extreme temperatures and steadily increasing heat waves bring disastrous effects.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a report addressing India’s heat waves that, “Heat waves have multiple and cascading impacts not just on human health, but also on ecosystems, agriculture, water and energy supplies and key sectors of the economy.”

He added that, while it is premature to attribute India’s extreme heat solely to climate change, it is evidence of what climate scientists have been warning the world about for years. “It is consistent with what we expect in a changing climate. Heat waves are more frequent and more intense and starting earlier than in the past,” he said.

India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences released a 2020 report that researched India’s rising temperatures and, according to the report, the news is bleak.

Researchers found that the frequency of heat extremes in India increased from 1951 to 2015, and warming trends accelerated in the last 30 years in that time period.

They also found that “heat wave frequency, duration, intensity and aerial coverage over India are projected to substantially increase during the twenty-first century.”

In response to the heat waves, which affect hundreds of millions of people and can be lethal, the United Nations reported that India has established a response framework through its National Disaster Management Authority.

However, little can be done to respond to the source of the suffering unless major action is taken. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres along with U.N. scientists warned in April 2022 that it’s “now or never” when it comes to limiting global warming.


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