Extreme Heat Strikes India & Pakistan _on Ecoshock
ECOSHOCK —Extreme Heat Strikes India & Pakistan
an example of what is coming all over the hotter world — Extreme heat strikes India and Pakistan. US climate scientist Michael Wehner on coming heat storms over the world. Pakistani expert Dr. Adil Najam on deadly heat in his country. Indian scientist M. Rajeevan with new research into the hottest days ever, increasing every decade.
This week even higher record heat struck the lands known for record heat. The heat wave in both India and Pakistan is deadly, and hardly reported by Western media. Temperatures rose above 128 degrees Fahrenheit, or 51 degrees Centigrade, in the shade, the hottest ever recorded in India. That was in the city of Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan, Northwest India. 52 degrees C was expected in Larkana, Pakistan.
In this part of the world, as in Australia, heat already kills more people than any other natural hazard. The greatest mass death event in Europe this century was the 2003 heat wave.
This is the second year of extreme heat in southeast Asia. As we’ll hear from two scientific guests, all this was predicted by recent studies. The same studies say it will get even hotter, for longer periods, as the decades progress. Already, the heat is breeding despair, suicide, violence, refugees, poverty and hunger for hundreds of millions of people. It can also become a “hot-bed” for terrorism.
Two points from our coming guests: the poorest victims of this heat are the least responsible for global warming. The source is half a world away, where most of us live in fossil-powered luxury. But in a world connected by finance, trade, and airplanes, the blowback can travel back half a world away from the steaming countries of India and Pakistan.
Second, we used to believe that some climate catastrophe will finally drive the world to change. Now we know, each stage of tragedy becomes the new routine, the new normal, and stops being reported.
We’ll talk with Dr. Michael Wehner, who co-authored the report on extreme weather for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He’s got new research awaiting publication on the heat waves of India and Pakistan. I’ll be sharing an email exchange with Indian scientist M. Rajeevan. He’s published research on the increasing frequency and severity of heat waves in India. Dr Rajeevan now heads the climate and meteorology services for the Government of India.
But first, I talk with one of Pakistan’s leading intellectuals about the realities of punishing heat waves in a vacuum of public policy, as his country struggles to survive our pollution.
This week on Radio Ecoshock, the news and science you need to hear about the hot new future.
Speakers: Adil Najam, Michael Wehner, M. Rajeevan. All interviews by Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock. End song “Tribute to Michael Mariotte” (late American anti-nuclear campaigner) by Alex Smith.
This show was broadcast on June 10, 2016.