South Asia faces growing challenges and dilemmas from climate change

Several South Asian countries, including India, are home to hundreds of millions of the world’s most deprived people, and the challenges of poverty, food security, health, governance and other challenges are intensifying as the region is directly affected by climate change. Global warming is no longer a distant prospect , and officials can no longer ignore it because of their limited time in office. Scientists say March was the warmest month in the 122 years that India and Pakistan began recording climates, while rainfall was 60 to 70 percent below normal. This year’s heat was earlier than usual, and the temperature has been rising – reaching a high of 49C in New Delhi in May. Krishna Akutarao, a climate researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, estimates that such heatwaves are 30 times more likely now than they were before the industrial age. If global warming were to increase from the current 1.2 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures, such extreme patterns would occur more frequently—perhaps every 50 years or even five years, he said. According to preliminary information, India’s national wheat production has fallen by at least 3.5 percent this year due to extreme weather. In Punjab, India’s traditional wheat-producing state, the drop was around 15 percent, and in some areas as high as 30 percent.

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