Odisha may witness 42k more deaths annually by 2100

Odisha may witness 42,334 more deaths every year due to extreme heat by 2100, a new study has said.

It will be almost five times more than the total deaths the state records due to cardiac arrest every year.

The spike in average summer temperature and a number of extremely hot days has an impact on mortality, the study revealed.

The number of extremely hot days in Odisha has been projected to increase by 30 times from 1.62 in 2010 to 48.05 by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at current rates till the end of the century, the report said.

The study is the first in a series of findings estimating the human and economic costs of climate change and weather shocks in India, conducted by the Climate Impact Lab in collaboration with the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago.

Punjab is likely to continue to be the country's hottest state in 2100 with an average annual temperature of around 36 degrees Celsius.

"Odisha is projected to see 42,334 excess climate-related deaths due to an increase in temperature," it said.

India, as a whole, will see the number of extremely hot days per year increasing by more than eight times from 5.1 in 2010 to 42.8 by 2100, the study released here on Monday said.

The presentation of the report was followed by a panel discussion on the impact of climate change in Odisha.

Odisha's average summer temperature may witness a 3.32 degree Celsius rise from 28.87 degree Celsius in 2010 to 32.19 degree Celsius by 2100. It will be far higher than the national average increase from about 24 degree Celsius to about 28 degree Celsius by the end of the century, the report said. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is close behind, which is likely to see a temperature rise of 3.07C, it said.

"Odisha has a history of experiencing extreme heat-related fatalities. In 1998, as many as 2,042 people had died due to excessive heatwave," Pradeep Kumar Nayak, chief general manager, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority, said.

Though extensive awareness campaigns have largely reduced the number of casualties during post-1998 period, still a number of casualties are being reported each year, he said.

Between 2010 and 2018, over 6,100 people have died in the country due to heatwave, with Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal together reporting more than 90 per cent of the total deaths, the study said.

Michael Greenstone, faculty director at the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and a co-founder of the Climate Impact Lab said, "Reliance on fossil fuels globally will greatly harm the well-being of people in the coming years and decades.

"Managing climate and air pollution risks is perhaps the challenges of our generation."

The impact of carbon emissions is going to be more pronounced on societies across the globe, including India, which has already seen 2,500 deaths due to a heatwave in 2015, said Amir Jina, assistant professor at the Harris Public Policy and researcher at the Climate Impact Lab. "The future will be more worrying if a course correction is not embarked upon at the earliest and investments are not made towards mitigating the harmful effects of climate change," Jina said. 

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