Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Politics

The Ides Of March: Heatwave Strikes

The warning signs are flashing for all to see. But no one is bothered. Not the people, nor the polity.

The Ides Of March: Heatwave Strikes
Grow in India (Courtesy: Gram Art Project, Paradsinga, Madhya Pradesh)

When the recent assembly elections entered the final phases, the country directly slipped from winters to summers, completely skipping the spring season. The unusual weather soon damaged the wheat crop and increased flour prices, which led to a jump in the Consumer Price Index. As the heatwave intensifies, it needs to be underlined that it has not been an isolated year. In 2021, the Ministry of Earth Sciences said 12 of the 15 warmest years the country has ever seen were recorded during the last 15 years (2006-2020), and the last decade (2011-2020) was the warmest ever. India is in the grip of a severe heatwave, and yet the country that has just recently seen a massive farmers’ movement has little political conversation around the issue that threatens its farming.

The WHO says in a report that heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards, but rarely receive adequate attention because their death tolls and destruction are not always immediately obvious. From 1998-2017, more than 1,66,000 people died globally due to heatwaves, including more than 70,000 who died during the 2003 heatwave in Europe alone. And yet, soon after Donald Trump became the US President, he declared his intent to withdraw from the Paris Deal. The US eventually became the first country to withdraw from the agreement, sparking serious concerns in the world environmental order, before President Joe Biden rejoined the deal.

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