Don’t ignore climate change in North India
Climate change in 2021 is restricted to Uttarakhand. People in the North Indian plains will remember February for temperatures above 30 degrees.
This is decidedly deviant- in some places, it became almost 5 degrees above normal.
This is cause to worry constructively.
Recall how over 4 million people in Texas woke up to a power blackout on February 16th this year.
A freak winter storm pushed the temperatures to well below zero and the electricity infrastructure collapsed.
In both North India and Texas, climate change is causing sudden temperature changes that people cannot cope with.
In Russia in the summer of 2010, over 55,000 people died from heatwaves, point out researchers Jun Yang and others in their new article in the journal Nature Communications.
Their research also shows, using data from China, that heat related mortality is an outcome of climate change.
Amongst the most vulnerable, according to them, were likely to be those with cardio-respiratory diseases, women, the elderly and those with lower educational levels.
In our intensely polluted, heart-and-lung-disease causing air, large swathes of Indians qualify as potential victims.
India should not take this lightly.
We must push for retrofitting buildings for cooling, optimize new buildings, deepen encouragement for decentralized solar power at community and ward levels, and set up high quality community urban cooling spots, to shelter those who need it.
Training people to prepare for heat waves is essential, so while we fight climate change, we also save lives. Let’s reduce greenhouses gases, but lets’ adapt too.
(Bharati Chaturvedi Founder and Director Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)