The Dreadful Consequences of Climate Change and Heatwaves in Pakistan and India; Scarcities, Human Losses and International Impact

Published on: 13 June 2022
by KnowESG

Pakistan and India have been hit by deadly heatwaves starting in the month of Marchthe hottest month since 1901—reaching records of 50°C. This phenomenon led to consequences for people and resources, creating multiple shortages and killing dozens of people and upsetting the daily lives and livelihoods of students, laborers, and farmers.

The farmers’ crops are subject to these high and persistent temperatures. "Extreme heat has major repercussions for the agricultural sector," said Sumalee Khosla, Climate Change Adaptation Finance Expert at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Climate-related heat stress will increase drought and exacerbate water scarcity for irrigation. This impacts farming communities and potentially creates further food security issues in affected countries." 

Along with the impact on health, now both countries, India being the world’s second-largest wheat producer, are experiencing shortages and are obliged to stop exporting resources. This decision will affect the rest of the world with an important increase in prices. 

"Climate change will cause more stresses on the global food system," said Lomax. "The worst thing we can do is carry on as we are. We can start by diversifying the crops we plant and opting for more resilient seed varieties." stated James Lomax, a United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Food Systems Officer (UNEP)

Scientists have long warned that human-caused climate change will result in the severe heatwaves and repercussions that we are seeing in South Asia.

Experts have cautioned against what the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres terms "a deadly addiction to coal." The rise in temperatures has increased the use of coal for energy cooling, which led the Indian government to declare that it will reopen more than 100 coal mines in response to the energy crisis. Guetters asserts that phasing out coal from the electrical industry is the single most crucial step to meeting the Paris Agreement's 1.5-degree target. 

"A warming planet means greater demand for cooling, particularly for air-conditioning," said Mark Radka, Chief of the Energy and Climate Branch at UNEP."

"As demand surges, the whole energy system becomes more fragile, leading to blackouts and brownouts that force people to turn to diesel generators that add to greenhouse gas emissions and worsen the climate and air pollution crises."

With only 9% of homes in India having air conditioning, the UN Environment Programme is collaborating with RMI, a non-profit organization focusing on global energy systems, through the Cool Coalition. Together with national and local governments across Asia, they are discussing innovative strategies to protect people from excessive heat. The initiative will assist 100 communities in undertaking high heat planning and incorporating cooling into urban planning.

Source : UNEP