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World Bank Report: Over 160-200 Million Indians Could Be Exposed to Lethal Heat Waves Annually   

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Over 160-200 million Indians could be exposed to lethal heat wavesAccording to the World Bank (WB) Report titled “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector,” India is experiencing increasing temperatures every year, and by 2030, over 160-200 million people across the country could be subjected to severe heat waves every year.

  • Due to productivity declines brought on by heat stress, 34 million people in India would lose their jobs.

Impacts of Heat Stress

i.Food loss due to heat during transportation currently costs close to USD 13 billion per year.

ii.There will be a need for a new air conditioner every 15 seconds by 2037 and hence the demand for cooling is projected to be 8 times more than it is in 2022.

  • This would result in an expected increase of 435 % in yearly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the following 20 years.

Key Observations from the Report

i.According to the report “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector,” transitioning to a more energy-efficient path might result in a significant reduction in predicted carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the next 20 years.

  • It proposes a sustainable cooling plan with the potential to cut 300 million tons of CO2 annually by 2040.

ii.If temperatures in India continue to rise owing to climate change, keeping places cool with alternative and novel energy-efficient technology can create a USD 1.6 trillion investment opportunity by 2040.

  • Additionally, this has the potential to generate nearly 3.7 million jobs and drastically cut GHG emissions.

India’s Initiatives for Assisting People in Adapting to Rising Temperatures

i.The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to provide sustainable cooling solutions across various sectors.

  • It comprises air conditioning in passenger transport, indoor cooling in buildings, cold chain and refrigeration in the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.

ii.The ICAP gives a 20-year outlook (2017-18 to 2037-38) and recommendations to address cooling needs across sectors.

  • It aims to cut cooling demand by up to 25% by 2037-38.

iii.By 2047, India intends to eliminate the manufacture and use of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are used as coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators.

Key Suggestions:

i.The report recommends a road map to assist ICAP’s new investments in 3 important sectors: building construction, cold chains, and refrigerants.

ii.India’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), an affordable housing programme for the poor, can use climate-responsive cooling technology in both private and government-funded projects.

  • This will help to ensure that individuals at the bottom of the economic scale are not disproportionately impacted by rising temperatures.

iii.This could boost the government’s target of building 11 million urban houses and 29 million rural houses.

Recent Related News:

As per the 7th Lancet Report of ‘Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels’, India suffered loss of 167.2 billion potential labour hours in 2021 due to heat waves which resulted in income loss equal to 5.4% of India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the highest among the G20 nations in 2021.

About the World Bank (WB):

The International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) collectively make up the World Bank (WB).
President (WB Group) – David Malpass
Headquarters – Washington D.C, United States (US)
Establishment – 1944