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Heat may claim over 42K more lives each year in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Nov 4 (IANS) Odisha is projected to see 42,334 excess climate-related deaths by 2100 due to increase in temperature, according to a study.

The number of extremely hot days in Odisha is projected to increase by 30 times from 1.62 in 2010 to 48.05 by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at current rates till the end of the century.

India, as a whole, will see the number of extremely hot days per year increasing by more than eight times from 5.1 in 2010 to 42.8 by 2100, revealed the study.

The study is the first in a series of findings estimating the human and economic costs of climate change and weather shocks in India, conducted by the Climate Impact Lab in collaboration with the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago.

Six states, Uttar Pradesh (4,02,280), Bihar (1,36,372), Rajasthan (1,21,809), Andhra Pradesh (1,16,920), Madhya Pradesh (1,08,370), and Maharashtra (1,06,749) will contribute 64 per cent of the total excess deaths — 1,543,708 — due to temperature rise, it said.

Between 2010 and 2018, over 6,100 people have died in India due to heat wave, with Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal together reporting more than 90 per cent of total deaths.

“Odisha has a history of experiencing extreme heat related fatalities. In the year 1998, Odisha faced an unprecedented heat wave situation, resulting in 2,042 deaths. Though extensive awareness campaigns have largely reduced the number of casualties during post 1998 period, still a number of casualties are being reported each year,” said Pradeep Kumar Nayak, Chief General Manager, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).

With climate change projections signalling a 30 times rise in extremely hot days, it calls for amplified efforts to be put in place to build resilience, particularly for the vulnerable communities, he added.

Michael Greenstone, faculty Director at the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and a co-founder of the Climate Impact Lab said, “These finding makes clear that the continued reliance on fossil fuels globally will greatly harm the well-being of Indians in the coming years and decades. They also underscore the need to find innovative adaptation strategies.”

“The impact of carbon emissions is going to be more pronounced on societies across the globe, including India, which has already seen 2,500 deaths due to a heat wave in 2015.

The future is going to be even more worrying if a course correction is not embarked upon at the earliest and investments are not made towards mitigating the harmful effects of climate change,” said Amir Jina, Assistant Professor at the Harris Public Policy and researcher at the Climate Impact Lab.

–IANS

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