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Study: India Could Become Uninhabitable In 50 Years If Greenhouse Emissions Continue

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May 7, 2020

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A new study by scientists from China, Europe and the U.S. has found that within just 50 years, climate conditions in India could become unlivable, with temperatures soaring as high as the Sahara Desert if the emissions of greenhouse gases, or gases which trap heat in the atmosphere, continue to rise at the current pace.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this week, the study found that besides 1.2 billion people in India, 485 million in Nigeria and more than 100 million in each of Pakistan, Indonesia and Sudan will meet similar fates.

Currently, the human population worldwide, although spread out, is concentrated in climate bands where the average annual temperatures range between 6°C to 28°C, which are optimal for human health and food production — in terms of both crops and livestock.

But, by 2070, humans will have to let go of the environmental temperature-niche they have thrived in for over 6,000 years — every single rise in degree (Celsius) would correspond to about one billion people falling outside the this niche. This could not only lead to challenges in food production, but also a pressure to migrate, which alone is an issue ridden with economic, political, social and psychological concerns.


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“The coronavirus has changed the world in ways that were hard to imagine a few months ago and our results show how climate change could do something similar. Unlike with the pandemic, there would be no relief to look forward to: large areas of the planet would heat to barely survivable levels and they wouldn’t cool down again. Not only would this have devastating direct effects, it leaves societies less able to cope with future crises like new pandemics. The only thing that can stop this happening is a rapid cut in carbon emissions,” Marten Scheffer, a Dutch ecologist who co-authored the paper, told USA Today.

Due to the ongoing global Covid19-prompted lockdown, UNCTAD reported a drop in greenhouse emissions resulting from decrease in global production, consumption and air traffic. But, the UNCTAD has also predicted that emission of methane, a greenhouse gas, due to decaying produce and improper waste management, would rise sharply in the immediate post-crisis months. Moreover, once the pandemic passes, the focus of most governments around the world would be on economic recovery, which could de-prioritize environmental concerns or put them on the back burner.

“Clearly we will need a global approach to safeguard our children against the potentially enormous social tensions the projected change could invoke,” Chi Xu from School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, who co-authored the paper, told The Guardian.

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Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an associate editor with The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, and a painter by shaukh. She has her own podcast called #DateNightsWithD on Spotify. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.

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