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India among countries worst hit by climate change, says report

According to the Lancet Countdown 2018 on Health and Climate Change report published on Thursday , globally each person was exposed to an additional 1.4 days of heat wave between 2000 and 2017 compared to the baseline period of 1986 to 2005.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2018 08:12 IST
Jayashree Nandi
Jayashree Nandi
India experienced an additional 40 million heat wave exposure cases in 2016 compared to 2012
India experienced an additional 40 million heat wave exposure cases in 2016 compared to 2012(AP File Photo)
         

Less than a week before the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change begins in Katowice, Poland, a Lancet report has raised concern on the debilitating impact of climate change on human health across the world. India is one of the countries worst hit by heat stress and labour hours lost as a result.

According to the Lancet Countdown 2018 on Health and Climate Change report published on Thursday , globally each person was exposed to an additional 1.4 days of heat wave between 2000 and 2017 compared to the baseline period of 1986 to 2005. In 2017, an additional 157 million heat wave exposure events took place, which is 18 million more heat exposure events than in 2016.

India experienced an additional 40 million heat wave exposure cases in 2016 compared to 2012, said. India also lost nearly 75,000 million labour hours in 2017 (equivalent to a year’s work for 7% of the working population), compared to about 43,000 million hours in 2000, an increase of more than 30,000 million labour hours lost in less than two decades.

For the agriculture sector alone, the labour hours lost increased from about 40,000 million hours in 2000 to about 60,000 million hours in 2017, says a briefing paper for Indian policy makers by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) based on the Lancet Countdown report.

The UN Climate Change Conferences, also known as COP, are annual meetings held to assess and negotiate ways to deal with climate change. Issues likely to be discussed at this year’s conference are transfer of climate funds from developed countries to developing nations for adaptation to climate change impacts, and how nations can keep global temperature rise under 1.5 degree Celsius.

The report was authored by people from 27 organisations, including doctors, academics and policy professionals, who relied on written works and primary data reports from various countries .

“What we saw in the data shared is that the number, duration and intensity of heat waves has been increasing in India, particularly in the last decade. There are spikes in heat wave related morbidity and mortality. Lancet had shared summary data sets with us,” said Dr Poornima Prabhakaran, associate professor and deputy director of the Centre for Environmental Health at PHFI, co-author of the briefing paper.

Mortality rates for malignant melanoma have increased significantly in Europe, the Americas, and the Western Pacific.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 07:44 IST

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