Is Odisha fast moving towards Climate emergency?

42,000 people projected to die each year due to extreme heat by 2100


Bhubaneswar: With the climate change situation worsens day by day, coastal states like Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are becoming more vulnerable to natural calamities. If the current rate of green house gas emission continues till the end of the century, the number of extremely hot days in Odisha are projected to increase by 30 times from 1.62 in 2010 to 48.05 by 2100, resulting more than 42 thousand climate related deaths per year, said a new study.

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), shows a new study released today in Bhubaneswar. 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.

Under a high-emission scenario, the state is projected to see a 3.32°C rise in average summer temperature from 28.87°C in 2010 to 32.19°C by 2100. It is far higher than the national average increase from about 24°C to about 28°C by the end of the century. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is close behind, which is likely to see a temperature rise of 3.07°C.

By analysing highly spatially detailed climate data from 33 global climate models, the study reveals some alarming results that emphasise why urgent climate action is required to limit global temperature rise.

According to the study, under a high-emission scenario, 16 out of the 36 states and union territories are estimated to become hotter than Punjab, which is currently the hottest state in India with an  average annual temperature just below 32°C (as of 2010). Punjab is likely to continue to be India’s hottest state in 2100 with average annual temperature around 36°C.

The spike in average summer temperature and number of extremely hot days has an impact on mortality, finds the study. Odisha is projected to see 42,334 excess climate-related deaths due to increase in temperature. It is almost five times more than the total deaths the state records due to cardiac arrest every year. Six states, Uttar Pradesh (402,280), Bihar (136,372), Rajasthan (121,809), Andhra Pradesh (116,920), Madhya Pradesh (108,370), and Maharashtra (106,749) will contribute 64% of the total excess deaths—1,543,708—due to temperature rise.

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% of total deaths.

 “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. This global energy challenge that requires countries to balance the need for inexpensive and reliable sources of energy that is critical for growth, while managing climate and air pollution risks is perhaps the defining challenges of our generation” Michael Greenstone, faculty director at the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and a co-founder of the Climate Impact Lab said.

“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.


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