If climate change is making heat waves 100 times more likely in India

Shiv Shankar, 54, works all day on a construction site in the sun of New Delhi. He can’t even think of taking a day off to escape the deadly heatwave that has engulfed the Indian capital and most of the north of the country since the end of March. This would mean that one day’s wages would be lost, and his family of four would not be able to afford it.

Millions of workers in India and Pakistan spend every day outside, even without the option of escaping the hottest hours of the day. These workers may face increasing choices of life or death to get to work, as scientists say climate change is becoming fatal. Record-breaking heat waves As of now, North-West India and Pakistan are 100 times more likely to collide.

Shiv Shankar, 54, a construction worker seen here on May 19, 2022, works all day in the New Delhi sunshine despite the record-breaking heatwave as he cannot afford to take a day off.O Reports A report released this week by the UK Government’s Office of Meteorology says climate change has increased the region’s chances of warming from once every 312 years to once every 3.1 years. ۔

“And by the end of the century it will increase once every 1.15 years,” the study concluded.

In recent weeks, temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit have scorched parts of India and Pakistan, killing dozens. Destroying cropsIncreasing energy demand by triggering power blackouts, forcing authorities to close schools, and urging authorities to warn people to stay indoors.

New Delhi reached 120 degrees on Sunday.

A boy stands in line to collect water from a tanker provided by a municipal corporation in a slum in New Delhi, India on May 18, 2022, as most of the country is experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, on May 18, 2022. ۔Shankar had migrated from the central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to New Delhi years ago to do construction work. He spends most of his earnings at home so that his wife and two teenage children can put food on his table.

Prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures increases the risk of fatal heatstroke and can affect vital organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and brain, scientists say.

New Delhi, India, May 19, 2022 – Construction workers work on scaffolding during a heatwave. Officials urge workers to take time off on the hottest days, but since workers are paid only when they are at work, it could mean a huge loss of income for millions of families like Shankar.

According to Duke University, between 2001 and 2020, India lost about 259 billion hours a year due to the effects of extreme heat. the study was published in January. It has cost the Indian economy about ً 624 billion and has a huge literal impact on the families who live with each other every week.

Rickshaw driver Shiv Kumar Mandal awaits his next fare in the shopping district of Delhi, India on May 20, 2022, amidst the scorching heatwave.Luke Parsons, one of the leading researchers behind the Duke study, told News that there is no doubt that global warming means that “more and more people are experiencing uncomfortable and unsafe levels of heat.” Will face more and more often until they can go in and cool down.

“In both India and the United States, this means that those who are most vulnerable – for example, the elderly, and often those who have jobs that force them to work abroad or Tho are too poor to afford to buy and operate air conditioning will be most affected, “Parsons said.

There are an estimated 85,000 bicycle rickshaw drivers in Delhi.

“I earn 300 to 400 rupees (approximately $ 5) a day,” Shiv Kumar Mandal, a rickshaw driver in Delhi’s shopping district, told News on Friday. “What do you mean, ‘why am I working this summer?’ If I don’t work, we will starve. ”

Parsons said people like Mandal and other workers are “often forced to choose between their health and safety and economic well-being, which is not a good choice.”

And science points to a worsening of that.

“There is no doubt that future heatwaves will come more frequently, last longer and cover large parts of the Indian subcontinent,” said Vimal Mishra, a meteorologist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar. Told News earlier this month.

Forcing people to decide between working in dangerous conditions or going hungry is just one effect of the heat waves in the region.

“They are going to affect water availability, agriculture, business and energy demand,”.

The current heatwave in India has already had a global impact, helping to send prices. Wheat The crop reached record highs last week after India imposed a ban on its exports, severely damaged by dry, hot conditions.

Scientists say this is a testament to the fact that while India and other developing countries are at greater risk from the effects of climate change, they will not be the only victims.

“This is not going to stop in India,” Dr Angel Prakash, an environmental scientist and lead researcher at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told News. “It will ultimately hit the backs of the countries that created this problem for us.”