A burning issue that needs to be doused - GulfToday

A burning issue that needs to be doused

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Photo used for illustrative purposes.

As if the political heat, accompanied by clashes and protests, claiming lives in some parts of India were not enough, the searing heatwave in India has also taken over the role of the Grim Reaper, hitting alarming levels. Four people died in ‘unbearable’ heat while travelling by train in northern India, which has been in the grip of a heatwave for two weeks, officials and passengers said on Tuesday.

The four died on Monday while travelling from Agra − the city of the Taj Mahal − to Coimbatore in the country’s south in Kerala Express.

“When the train was approaching Jhansi, we got a call from the on-board staff that one of the passengers is unconscious,” an official said.

“We rushed medical staff to the station but they found that three of the passengers were already dead.” A fourth person died later in hospital.

The Kerala Express train had no technical problems, but the tourists were not in air-conditioned coaches.

One of the dead was 81 years old.

Much of India has been roasting in temperatures that have risen above 50ºC in northern Rajasthan state. A number of deaths from heatstroke have also been reported.

Temperatures touched 50.3ºC in the Rajasthan town of Churu recently, just below India’s record of 51˚C.

The relentless heat seems to be showing no signs of let-up, despite dramatic changes at the other end of the weather spectrum in other areas of the nation. For instance, a thunderstorm, accompanied by lightning and heavy rain, disrupted air, road and rail traffic in Mumbai late on Monday night. Two minors were killed as they were electrocuted near their tenement in the Poisar slums in Kandivali East, the BMC Disaster Control cell said.

The ongoing heatwave conditions on Monday became severe in several parts of the country, including the national capital, where the mercury touched the 46ºC mark.

“The hot and dry northwesterly winds are bringing in heat from the desert areas of west India and from across the international border. Because of this the temperature is rising,” said an official.

The heatwave is an annual feature in India, but its growing intensity is of serious concern. One way for the nation to tackle this is by taking a leaf out of the book of its erstwhile coloniser, Britain. It plans to enshrine a new commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 into law, marking a first among G7 nations facing an increasingly severe impact from the climate crisis.

Carbon emissions send temperatures spiralling in different parts of the world. Though reaching zero emissions by 2050 may sound like an ambitious target, the idea is to make the planet safe for future generations of children.

The more the global warming, the less the peace. At least that is what a new report says. Climate change poses a threat to peace in countries around the world in the coming decade, according to an annual peace index released on Wednesday that factored in the risk from global warming for the first time.

Nearly a billion people live in areas at high risk from global warming and about 40 per cent of them are in countries already struggling with conflict, said the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

Climate change causes conflict due to competition over diminishing resources and may also threaten livelihoods and force mass migration, it said.