Climate change is making India’s brutal heat waves worse

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Some local governments are trying to adapt to the extreme heat. Ahmedabad, a city in western India, experienced a particularly devastating heat wave in May 2010, with the official death toll at 800 and up to 1,300 being indirectly attributed. In 2013, the city launched a heat action plan, which included early warning systems for residents, training for health professionals, and adjustments to help cool buildings naturally.

Since then, other local governments have followed suit and created their own plans, but some hope to see more national action to help people adjust to the heat, Mondal says.

Reducing emissions will help prevent the worst future warming scenarios, but the current reality is already hard for many to bear. And India’s deadly heat waves provide just one example of who will be most affected by a changing climate.

“There are 1.4 billion people here who will be affected by this heat wave, most of whom contributed very little to global warming,” says Mondal. “This phenomenon should put an end to the question of why people should worry about climate change.”

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