• Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

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India suffers through ‘torturous’ heat — but its effects could be felt around the world

“Pakistan is among the 10 most affected countries from climate change and the third-most vulnerable to water stress,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman.  

“The current heat wave has just worsened the situation when it comes to availability of water.” 

March was Pakistan’s driest month on record, while April was the hottest since weather data began, according to Sardar Sarfraz, chief meteorological officer in Sindh.

A study published this week by Britain’s national meteorological service said that climate change had made record-breaking heat waves in northwest India and Pakistan more than 100 times more likely, meaning that instead of occurring once every three centuries under natural conditions, they are now likely to take place every three years. The study also found that based on current climate change projections, by the end of the century the region could be experiencing extreme heat waves every year.

Dasgupta said such heat waves have “cascading impacts” around the world, starting with smaller food harvests. 

“Climate shocks affect yields, which reduces supply in the global market, and countries, instead of cooperating, begin to keep stores for themselves,” he said. 

“This puts upward pressure on prices, which further reduces the purchasing power of people and results in increased food insecurity.”

As recently as last month, India said it hoped to make up for some of the shortfall in global wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine, two of the world’s biggest producers, before lower yields prompted it to announce the export ban. 

But Dasgupta said that even before the war in Ukraine and the pandemic, “new climate stressors have been exerting huge pressure on the global food chain.”

“Whether it’s in Madagascar or India, or multiple African countries, we’ve seen this for a while —  it’s a dual shock of heat waves and droughts,” he said.