scorecardIndian heatwaves could soon break 'survivability limit', cause 3.4 crore job losses
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Indian heatwaves could soon break 'survivability limit', cause 3.4 crore job losses

Indian heatwaves could soon break 'survivability limit', cause 3.4 crore job losses
SustainabilitySustainability3 min read
Climate change continues to fuel catastrophes across the world, and India stands to lose immensely. We're straddling the cusp of being the most populous country in the world, and growing extreme weather events are a major hurdle in our path towards sustainable development. As a significant chunk of the global population gets unreasonably burdened by the worsening climactic tantrums, tropical countries like India will likely face the brunt of adverse impacts.

Validating this further, a new World Bank report has outlined how extreme heat waves are increasing at an alarming frequency across India in the past few decades. The analysis shows that soon the country may become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that "break the human survivability limit".
The vulnerability of a tropical country
India is among the countries most disproportionately affected by global warming. Earlier this year, debilitating summer loo gripped the country, leading to record number of heat waves days across India. India witnessed eight times as many heatwave days this year than usual and five times as many thunderstorms.

Most recently, the Ministry of Earth Sciences reported that lightning strikes claimed 907 lives just this year. This is quite shocking because the probability of being struck by one is minute, which is a testament to the growing frequency of such improbable events. So far, extreme weather events have resulted in 2,183 deaths this year, almost the highest the toll has ever gotten in the past half a decade. Shockingly, lightning and floods accounted for 78% of the total deaths this year.
World Bank Report elucidates heatwave tragedy
The report titled "Climate Investment Opportunities in India's Cooling Sector" said that severe heat waves are responsible for thousands of deaths across the country, where higher temperatures arrive early and stay for far more extended periods.

"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°C. The month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded," it said.

The World Bank report further cautioned that rising heat across India could hit economic productivity, observing that 75% of India's workforce or 38 crore people depend on heat-exposed labour, sometimes working in potentially life-threatening temperatures.

"By 2030, India may account for 3.4 crore of the projected 8 crore global job losses from heat stress associated productivity decline," the report said.

The World Bank further said that lost labour from rising heat and humidity could put up to 4.5% of India's GDP at risk by the end of this decade.

(With inputs from IANS)

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