Too Hot to Live!

Unless carbon emissions are curtailed, climate change may expose 1.5 billion people in South Asia to potentially lethal heat and humidity in the near future
Heat and drought have a huge impact on India’s farmers. (Photo: BBC)

South Asia, where one-fifth of the world’s people live, could face summer heat waves that are impossible to survive without protection, thanks to global warming, new research suggests.

Hardest hit regions are in northern India, Bangladesh, and southern Pakistan, home to 1.5 billion people. These are also among the poorest regions in South Asia. Many are dependent on subsistence farming that requires long hours of hard outdoor labor.

The study shows that on the current business-as-usual trajectory of carbon emissions these deadly heat waves could hit the region within a few decades with potentially devastating impacts on the fertile Indus and Ganges River Basins that produce much of the region’s food supply.

However, cuts in carbon emissions as pledged under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement dramatically reduces the risk to the region.

The study, published in Science Advances, used state-of-the-art climate models to project potential future heat and humidity in South Asia, already one of the warmest regions of the world.

People in the Middle East and parts of Africa are already moving because of extreme heat and drought.

‘Reducing our carbon emissions now will really make a difference in the future.’ 

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