The World Bank report titled 'Climate Investment Opportunities in India's Cooling Sector' said the country is experiencing higher temperatures that arrive earlier and stay far longer.
Severe heat waves, responsible for thousands of deaths across India over the last few decades, are increasing with alarming frequency and soon the country could become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that break the human survivability limit.
In April 2022, India was plunged into the grip of a punishing early spring heat wave that brought the country to a standstill, with temperatures in the capital, New Delhi, topping 46 degrees Celsius. The month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded.
"...By 2030, India may account for 34 million of the projected 80 million global job losses from heat stress associated productivity decline", the report said. It further said India showed the largest heat exposure impacts on heavy labor among South Asian countries, with more than 101 billion hours lost a year.
"As temperatures rise across India, so will the demand for cooling. However, in a country where two-thirds of the population live on less than USD 2 a day, and where the average cost of an air-conditioning unit can vary between USD 260 and USD 500, air-cooling systems are a luxury available only to a few."
As a result, many poor and marginalized communities across India are more vulnerable to extreme heat, living in inadequately ventilated, hot and crowded homes without proper access to cooling", the report warned. Staying cool during extreme heat is about more than just comfort – it can constitute the precarious line between life and death, it added.
Source։ Hindustan Times
Image: India Today