New Delhi: India can be in the grip of deadly heatwaves in the coming decades leading to unsafe labour conditions in the crop-producing parts such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, the coastal regions and urban centres like Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
A new study by scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US says this is true for the whole of South Asia even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to the research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, with two degrees of warming, the population’s exposure to lethal temperatures rises by close to three times as compared to recent years, NDTV reported.
“The future looks bad for South Asia, but the worst can be avoided by containing warming to as low as possible. The need for adaptation over South Asia is today, not in the future. It’s not a choice anymore,” Moetasim Ashfaq, study co-author from Oak Ridge National Laboratory was quoted as saying.
“Even at 1.5 degrees, South Asia will have serious consequences in terms of heat stress. That’s why there is a need to radically alter the current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Ashfaq added.
“Only half a degree increase from today is going to cause a widespread increase in these events,” Ashfaq said.
According to the scientists, densely populated South Asian cities already lack regular access to air conditioning, and about 60 per cent of their populations perform agricultural work and cannot escape the heat by staying indoors.
This deadline leaves little time for South Asian countries to adapt, since the people here are especially vulnerable to deadly heatwaves with the area already experiencing very hot, humid summers, the researchers added.
“A policy framework is very much needed to fight against heat stress and heat wave-related problems,” TV Lakshmi Kumar, an atmospheric scientist at SRM Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai, who was not involved in the study, was quoted as saying by NDTV.