A new World Bank report has predicted a rise in heat wave in India that could break the human survivability limit in the country. The report, ‘Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector’ said the country is experiencing higher temperatures that arrive earlier and stay far longer.
Another report by World Bank has said that the world is barreling down a path to heat up by 4 degrees at the end of the century if the global community fails to act on climate change. Although it sounds threatening, it is also an eye-opening opportunity to act towards climate action.
Increase in Heat Waves
The report said that the recent heat wave supports what many climate scientists have long cautioned about with reference to rising temperatures across South Asia. However, in an extraordinary event this year, Europe experienced severe heat waves, with temperature touching above 40 degree Celsius. From June to August 2022, persistent heat-waves affected parts of Europe, causing evacuations and heat-related deaths. The highest temperature recorded was 47.0 °C in Pinhão, Portugal, on July 14.
In April 2022, capital New Delhi, recorded 46 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile the month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded in the month.
Time and again, climate experts have been stressing on keeping the temperatures below 1.5 degree Celsius. In August 2021, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the Indian subcontinent would suffer more frequent and intense heat waves over the coming decade.
India and its climate actions
According to the World Bank report, India, recognizing the complex challenges of rising temperatures, was one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action Plan in 2019. The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) sets out a long-term vision of ensuring sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits.
The report says, although the impact of the rising temperatures would impact the world, it is the poor that will suffer the impact more. India has time and again, raised the matter of climate financing and climate justice at global platforms including the recently concluded COP27 in Egypt.
India has also initiated a number of coalitions such as International Solar Alliance, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to bring clean and affordable energy within reach of all. India has also initiated Leadership group in Industry transition (Lead IT) track along with Sweden with focus on hard to abate industrial sectors and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure for easy and faster mobilization of technology, finance and necessary information for Small Island Developing States.
India has also been working on strengthening end-to-end early warning systems for all hydro-meteorological hazards. India has reduced mortality from cyclones by up to 90% over the last 15 years. On both east and west coasts, India has nearly 100% coverage of early warning systems for cyclones. Similarly for other hazards – such as heat waves – India is making swift progress, leading to much greater resilience of its communities. Over the last few years, India has made concerted efforts towards making early warning impact-based as well as more easily understandable and actionable by communities.