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Climate warning

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 10, 2018 shows a chunck of ice falls from the Perito Moreno Glacier, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz. - The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) on August 8, 2019 delivered the most comprehensive scientific overview yet of the links between the land we live off and global warming. (Photo by Walter Diaz / AFP)Premium
(FILES) This file photo taken on March 10, 2018 shows a chunck of ice falls from the Perito Moreno Glacier, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz. - The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) on August 8, 2019 delivered the most comprehensive scientific overview yet of the links between the land we live off and global warming. (Photo by Walter Diaz / AFP)

Rising heat extremes could make summers much worse, with the mercury potentially going over 35° Celsius nearly half the year-round. If humidity levels rise as well, that could enervate those who lack the comfort of air-conditioning and pose some sectors of our economy a productivity challenge.

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has dire warnings for India. We are in for more heatwaves, highly erratic monsoons, intense tropical cyclones and the dangerous effects of a glacial retreat in the northwestern Himalayas. With snow cover decreasing, occurrences, such as flash floods in our northern hill states, could also take place with tragic regularity.

There are other risks, too, but the broader message is clear: we need to act urgently against climate change. The costs we bear will be high. Rising heat extremes could make summers much worse, with the mercury potentially going over 35° Celsius nearly half the year-round. If humidity levels rise as well, that could enervate those who lack the comfort of air-conditioning and pose some sectors of our economy a productivity challenge. Hot and sultry outdoors may turn out to be among the minor irritants. From crop sustenance crises to catastrophic weather events, our vulnerability is projected to rise sharply. Sadly, much of this is irreversible, according to the report. But the tipping point to a planet doomed by overheating can yet be averted. It’s an aim we have no choice but to meet.

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