Current affairs Blog
Labour loss due to heatwave
- December 4, 2018
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Current Science &Technology Updates
Cool it: on labour loss due to heatwave
Heat Wave: A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.
staggering loss of an estimated 153 billion hours of labour during 2017 due to rising temperatures around the globe is a reminder to governments that they are not doing enough to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Lancet countdown on health and climate has reported that India was particularly affected by the rising frequency of heatwave events and lost about 75 billion hours of work, a significant part of it in the agricultural sector. This has worrying implications for rural employment and the well-being of a large section of the population that depends on farming. At stake for all countries in the developing world is the health of millions, many of them already vulnerable to extreme weather events. Coming on the eve of the UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, the report of the Lancet panel for 2018 brings clarity, placing connected issues in perspective for governmental action. It is vital that India gets more ambitious about cutting back on carbon emissions, even as it presses for the fulfilment of the climate finance obligations of developed countries under the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. A further reduction in the share of coal in the energy mix through sustained support for renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics, must form the cornerstone of national policy. This must be matched by a shift away from use of fossil fuels for transport, and the induction of more electric vehicles. Such a policy would yield the parallel benefit of improving air quality; ambient air pollution led to the premature death of an estimated half a million people in India in 2015.
The consensus on climate change is that it has begun to affect the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. India’s approach to adaptation should, therefore, prepare for catastrophes with a well-considered plan to provide relief and rehabilitation. If the Centre and State governments can arrive at a consensus on the strong climate link to the excessive rain in Kerala and Cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu, for instance, a case could be made for climate funds under the Paris Agreement. Such a claim has to be supported by a perspective plan that identifies vulnerable regions and communities, and incorporates transparent systems for funds utilisation. The importance of funds for adaptation is underscored by Lancet’s finding that 99% of losses from climate-related events in low-income countries were not insured. From a public health perspective, the report sounds a warning that rising temperatures will enable the dengue virus and malaria to spread farther and faster. This is also true of some other infections. The aggravated impact of climate change on health is a serious issue for policymakers to consider when they gather in Katowice for the conference on December 2.
Consequences of heat waves
- According to the Lancet journal, India was particularly affected by the rising frequency of heat wave events and lost about 75 billion hours of work, a significant part of it in the agricultural sector.
- Crop failures due to intense droughts.
- Drying up of reservoirs, ponds, lakes can cause a drinking water shortage.
- Heat strokes, dehydration can cause fatalities, especially with older persons.
- Higher summer temperatures will increase electricity demand for cooling, at the same time, higher temperatures lower the ability of transmission lines to carry power, leading to electricity reliability issues during heat waves.
Policy response from India
The National Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009, do not include heat wave in the list of natural calamities. The government, therefore, does not devote financial and infrastructure resources to the problem.
What India needs to do
- A dedicated legal framework for heat waves by the National Disaster Management Agency, with infrastructure and financial support.
- Reduction in the share of coal in the energy mix through sustained support for renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics, must form the cornerstone of national policy.
- Need to shift away from the use of fossil fuels for transport, and the induction of more electric vehicles.
- Revival of traditional water harvesting structures like Eris of TamilNadu, Johads of Rajasthan across India.
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