india heatwave Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Mitigating India’s Climate-Change Misery

This summer’s global heat wave was a reminder that as global temperatures increase, it is the world’s poorest who will suffer the most. Nowhere is this truer than in India, where rising temperatures are threatening millions who struggle with limited access to basic amenities.

SANTA MONICA – The record-setting heat that blanketed the planet this summer was a sticky reminder that as global temperatures increase, people on the margins of society – the sick, the elderly, and the poor – will suffer disproportionately. And, nowhere will this suffering be more acute than in India.

Poverty entraps more people in India than any other country. With some 270 million Indians living below the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.90 a day, escaping the elements has never been easy. Now, climate change and extreme weather are making it impossible.

In cities, the poor must contend with the effects of “heat islands” – developed areas that trap the sun’s warmth and make temperatures significantly hotter than in rural regions. During heat waves, urban temperatures in India can be extreme even at night, making sleeping agonizing for those without proper shelter or modern cooling methods.

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