Combating The Climate Emergency - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Combating the Climate Emergency

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 19, 2023 11:50 pm

At present, India is experiencing exceptionally hot weather. In several parts of the country, the temperature is 4 to 5 degrees Celsius higher than normal. True to predictions made by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the maximum temperature in some areas has already crossed 40 degree Celsius mark, while the minimum temperature is not below 30 degree Celsius. Such weather conditions are causing adverse effects on many lives. For instance, the United Nations (UN) has already predicted that extensive hot spell may cost India 2.5 to 4.5 per cent of GDP. As per predictions, India’s wheat production went down considerably due to excessive heat last year. This year too, the country may face a similar predicament. 

Even more concerning is that according to some forecasts based on wet-bulb readings, which take note of temperature and humidity, India may go well beyond the survivability threshold due to heat waves and high humidity. According to environmentalists, states like Maharashtra and West Bengal are feeling the heat more this summer because of poor wet-bulb readings. It would be inaccurate to blame the El Nino phenomenon for the present situation as other factors like change in land-use patterns, loss of green cover and unplanned development, etc.  have contributed generously towards heating the planet. Thus to an extent, the recent heat wave is a man-made calamity, which could have been prevented if we had taken precautionary steps. For example, March 2022 was the warmest month on record since 1901. As we remained in our slumber even in the wake of such worrying developments, this year’s February became the hottest second month of the year since 1901. If the trend continues unabated, we will witness many warmer months sooner than later.

Thus, it is time now to make a comprehensive plan to protect ourselves from  the climate crisis. Some states have already closed schools and colleges to keep children indoors. But this can at best be termed as a knee-jerk reaction. Heat does not only affect children, it takes a toll on elderly persons too, and those who have to go out regularly for their livelihoods. Barring Odisha, no state has come up with clear instructions on what to do and what not to do amidst the heat wave. The Odisha government has taken some innovative steps in this regard, including stopping of public transport service during noon, apart from asking every government office to make drinking water, ORS packets and a rest shed available both for staff and visitors. The state government has also instructed all hospitals to keep separate beds for sunstroke patients with emergency facilities. It is advisable for other states to follow suit as such precautions will help keep people safe from the wrath of rising temperatures. Simultaneously, there is a need to ensure uninterrupted power supply as summer without electricity will exacerbate problems. It is hoped that the gravity of the situation is realised by all and that authorities will jump into action to tackle the climate emergency with urgency.

6113
By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 19, 2023 11:50:01 pm
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