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: the official death toll rose to 800, with 1,300 deaths indirectly attributed to it. In 2013, the city launched a heat action plan, which includes early warning systems for residents, training for health care professionals, and adjustments to help cool buildings naturally.

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

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

“There are 1.4 billion people who will be affected by these heat waves, most of whom contribute very little to global warming,” says Mondal. “This incident should put an end to the question of why people should take care of climate change.”

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