1.5 million more people may die in India by 2100 due to extreme heat by climate change: Study
Around 1.5 million more people may die in India each year due to extreme heat by 2100, a new study has found. The study conducted by Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at the University of Chicago, USA, which was released at UChicago Centre here on Thursday, said that continued high emissions of greenhouse gases are projected to lead to a four degree celsius rise in average annual temperature in India by 2100.
"India is projected to see an increase of death rates due to climate change equal to about 10 per cent of the current death rate. That is 60 deaths per 1,00,000 population by the end of the century under the scenario of continued emissions," the study said. It said that the average number of extremely hot days around the country, presently over 35 degree Celsius, are likely to increase by more than eight times per year to 42.8 degree Celsius.
It said that the spike in average summer temperature and number of extremely hot days has an impact on mortality. "Six states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are estimated to contribute 64 per cent of the total excess deaths -- more than 1.5 million deaths each year in all -- due to temperature rises caused by climate change," the study said.
The study is the first in a series of findings estimating the human and economic costs of climate change and weather shocks in India, conducted by the Climate Impact Lab in collaboration with the TCD, a statement issued by the organisation said. It was released in the presence of Union Jal Shakti Minister G S Shekhawat, who said climate change is happening and government was taking measures to build India's resilience to climate change.
"Climate change is upon us. We see that in the form of erratic monsoons, prolonged droughts and heat waves. All these exacerbate several problems that we are already grappling with, including water stress. "We are calling for rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, talking about giving incentive to crops that are less water-intensive and also promoting participatory groundwater management-all of which will help build India's resilience to climate change," he said.
According to the study, while Delhi is projected to experience 22 times more extremely hot days by 2100, Haryana will be 20 times hotter, Punjab and Rajasthan will be 17 seven times hotter, respectively. "With the number of extremely hot days increasing, 16 out of the 36 states and union territories are projected become hotter than Punjab, which is currently the hottest state in India... Punjab is expected to continue to be India's hottest state in 2100, with average annual temperature around 36 degree Celsius," it said.
Michael Greenstone, faculty director at the TCD and a co-founder of the Climate Impact Lab said these findings make clear that the continued reliance on fossil fuels globally will greatly harm the well-being of Indians in the coming years and decades. Amir Jina, member of the Climate Impact Lab, said, "Having already seen 2,500 deaths due to a heat wave in 2015, the future is going to be even more worrying if India and the world does not change course to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change." PTI AG AAR
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