UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | Rise in Temperature and Impacts | 9 July 2022

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What the article is about?

  • Talks about the rise in temperature and measures to be adopted.

Syllabus: GS-III Climate Change, Heat Waves, Disaster Management

Rising Temperature:

  • India too has been registering instances of anomalous weather with alarming frequency with an erratic monsoon and coastal erosion.
  • An analysis of public weather data over the last half a century by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), suggests that the all-India average temperature during the monsoon months ( June-September) is higher than the summer months (March-May).
    • It is the winter ( January and February) and post-monsoon (October-December) average all-India temperatures that have risen faster than even the monsoon and summer temperatures.
  • The shattering of temperature records is only one part of the changes;
    • there is also evidence of the toll on lives. From 2015-2020, 2,137 people had reportedly died due to heat stroke in northwest India but southern India had reported 2,444 deaths due to excess environmental heat, with Andhra Pradesh accounting for over half the reported casualties.
    • The urban heat island effect — whereby cities because of concrete surfaces and dense populations tend to on average be hotter than rural habitations — also contributed to heat stress. 

Beating the Heat:

  • Indian authorities are cognisant of these trends with some States, led by Gujarat, having Heat Action Plans (HAP).
  • The National Disaster Management Authority is working with 23 out of 28 heat-prone States to develop HAPs that stress changes in the built environment:
    • using material that keeps the indoors cooler,
    • having an early warning system about heatwaves and
    • improving health infrastructure to treat heat stroke patients
  • However, much remains in terms of reaching out to rural India as well as governments taking steps to plan infrastructure and housing in ways that recognise the dangers of a warming environment.
  • It is time that India includes financial incentives, preferably via Budget outlays, for effective cooling plans.
  • Adapting to and mitigating this most visceral challenge is the need of the hour. 

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