A new study reports that if drastic measures aren’t taken, most of south Asia will be too hot to live in by 2100.
The new study based on computer simulations by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says that if climate change continues at its currently pace, parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be affected by deadly heatwaves in the coming decades.
The rising temperatures will hit key agricultural areas, such as the Indus and Ganges River basins, very hard. This will causes a decrease in growth of crops as well as an increase of hunger and starvation. The study’s co-author and MIT professor, Elfatih Eltahir, said “Climate change is not an abstract concept, it is impacting huge numbers of vulnerable people. Business as usual runs the risk of having extremely lethal heat waves.” With a low yield of crops, millions will be forced to migrate, causing over population in surrounding areas.
Many people living in these areas have already been exposed to the effects of climate change, as 2% of India’s population has already experienced extreme heat and humidity. If nothing changes, that number will jump to 70%.
The Huffpost reports “Heatwaves across South Asia in the summer of 2015 killed an estimated 3,500 people and similar events will become more frequent and intense, researchers said.” Scientists predict that this number will only increase as the temperatures rise.
Some countries in South Asia have already begun plans to help manage the problems. Pakistan spoke with disasters experts in order to create a plan to develop ways to lessen the impact of heat waves in urban areas. India also created the country’s first early warning system against extreme heatwaves. In Ahmedabad, India, city officials have mapped areas with vulnerable populations and have set up “cooling spaces” in places such as temples and public buildings.
Unfortunately, experts say these plans may not be good enough. Steps towards prevention of climate change are the area’s best options. If no extreme steps are taken towards fixing climate change, than these countries cannot escape their deadly fate.