Science & Tech

India and Nigeria to See Largest Populations Exposed to Extreme Heat

© AP Photo / Mahesh Kumar A.Женщина с ребенком накрывается шалью от жары в Индии
Женщина с ребенком накрывается шалью от жары в Индии  - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.05.2023
The world’s average surface temperature has already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius, causing extreme weather events across the globe, while the South Asian region remains particularly vulnerable to this exposure.
A new report by climate experts warned that about 600 million Indians residing in the country would be “exposed to extreme heat,” assuming a future global population of 9.5 billion and a temperature rise of 2.7 degrees Celsius (compared to pre-industrial levels).
Climatologists have already predicted that if countries fail to take corrective measures, two billion people (22% of the projected end-of-century population) will be exposed to dangerous heat conditions. The planet will reach 2.7°C global warming, says research published in the journal Nature on Monday, titled “Quantifying the Human Cost of Global Warming.”
A monkey tries to quenche its thirst from a water tap on a hot summer day - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.05.2023
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The study, led by researchers at the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter, and Nanjing University, also demonstrates how the narrow subset of Earth’s inhabitable climate (the “climate niche”) is rapidly shrinking, putting millions in the future at risk, especially those living in the lowest emitting areas today.
The climate niche generally refers to areas on Earth where humans have historically lived due to favourable climate conditions related to temperature and precipitation.
For the past 6,000 years, humans have mostly lived in the same climate conditions as they do now. However, with rising temperatures, displacements are being reported more than ever.

“If warming is successfully limited to 1.5°C, a sixth of humanity would be saved from dangerous heat, compared to 2.7°C - a reminder of the urgent need for decisive action to rapidly reduce carbon emissions”, the study further added.

For Every 0.1°C Increase, About 140 Mln More People Are Exposed to Heat

The 2015 Paris Agreement, adopted at COP21, aimed to limit global warming, preferably at 1.5 degrees. At the time, the report said that even with 1.5 degrees of warming, Earth would see extreme heatwaves, oceans rising, and the destruction of 70% to 90% of coral reefs.
About 60 million people are already exposed to dangerous heat (average temperature of 29°C or higher).
The research also focuses on “worst case scenarios” of 3.6°C- 4.4°C global warming, where “half of the world’s population could be left outside the climate niche, posing what the researchers call an existential risk”.
“For every 0.1°C of warming above present levels, about 140 million more people will be exposed to dangerous heat,” Professor Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, said. “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2.7°C would mean five times fewer people in 2100 being exposed to dangerous heat.”
According to Professor Chi Xu of Nanjing University, such high temperatures have been linked to a barrage of serious issues, including:
increased mortality,
decreased labour productivity,
decreased cognitive performance,
impaired learning,
adverse pregnancy outcomes,
decreased crop yield,
increased conflict and infectious disease spread.

India and Nigeria Worst-Impacted

The study predicts that some cooler place might become habitable in the future due to climate change. However, India and Nigeria stand the highest risk of dangerous heat.
India and Nigeria will have the highest population by 2100.
Similarly, countries like Burkina Faso and Mali at 2.7°C will be dangerous for humans.
Brazil would have the largest land area exposed to dangerous heat, despite almost no area being exposed at 1.5 °C. Australia and India would also experience massive increases in area exposure.
"These new findings from the leading edge of Earth systems science underline the profoundly racialised nature of projected climate impacts and should inspire a policy sea-change in thinking around the urgency of decarbonisation efforts as well as in the value of massively up-shifting global investment into the frontlines of climate vulnerability,” said Ashish Ghadiali, of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute.

“We are already seeing the effects of dangerous heat levels on people in different parts of the world today. This will only accelerate unless we take immediate and decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, Wendy Broadgate, executive director of the Earth Commission at Future Earth, stressed.

Hindu devotees listen to a religious leader at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers, during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela festival, in Prayagraj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Jan. 31, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2023
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