Lancet Countdown 2018 Report: India Among Worst Hit by Climate Change (Download PDF)


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Lancet Countdown 2018 report has asked Indian policy makers to take series of initiatives to mitigate increased risks to health & loss of labour hours due to surge in exposure to heatwave events in country over 2012 - 2016 period.

Image of Lancet Countdown 2018 report

Image of Lancet Countdown 2018 Report

Image of Lancet Countdown 2018 report

Vulnerable India

  • From 2014 - 2017, average length of heatwaves in India ranged from 3 - 4 days compared to global average of 0.8 - 1.8 days & I

  • Indians were exposed to almost 60 million heatwave exposure events in 2016, jump of abt 40 million from 2012.

  • Recent report has placed India amongst countries, who most experience high social & economic costs from climate change.

  • Overall, across sectors India lost almost 75,000 million hours of labour in 2017, from abt 43,000 million hours in 2000.

  • Agriculture sector was more vulnerable compared to industrial & service sectors because workers there were more likely to be exposed to heat.

  • IMD had reported that from 1901 to 2007, there was increase of more than 0.5°C in mean temp. , w/considerable geographic variation & climate forecasts by research groups project 2.2 - 5.5°C rise in temp. in northern, central & western India by end of 21st century.

Important Recommendations of Lancet Study

  • Identify heat hot-spots thru appropriate tracking of meteorological data.

  • Promote timely development & implementation of local Heat Action Plans w/strategic inter-agency co-ordination & response which targets most vulnerable groups.

  • Review existing occupational health standards, labour laws & sectoral regulations for worker safety in relation to climatic conditions.

Heat Wave

Heat wave is considered if max. temp. of station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains, 37°C or more for coastal stations & at least 30°C or more for Hilly regions.

Criteria are used to declare heat wave:

  • Based on Departure from Normal:

    • Heat Wave: Departure from normal is 4.5°C to 6.4°C.

    • Severe Heat Wave: Departure from normal is > 6.4°C.

  • Based on Actual Max. Temp. (for plains only):

  • Heat Wave: When actual max. temp. ≥ 45°C

  • Severe Heat Wave: When actual max. temp. ≥47°C

To declare heat wave, above criteria should be met at least in 2 stations in Meteorological sub-division for at least 2 consecutive days & it will be declared on 2nd day.

  • Higher daily peak temp. & longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.

  • India is feeling impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature w/each passing year, & have devastating impact on human health.

  • Health Impacts of Heat Waves: Health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion & heat stroke.

  • Children, elderly & those w/pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable.

- Published/Last Modified on: January 15, 2019

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