Time is running out - GulfToday

Time is running out

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Fighting the avoidable.

It was 1987. I got off the auto-rickshaw and nearly crashed on the pavement. I literally grabbed bottles of cold water from one of the vendors in the city of New Delhi. No, I didn’t drink them. I poured them over my head. I did all that as bystanders watched and some came forward to help.

After I had successfully fought off the potential heatstroke I decided to check the temperature. It was a scary 47.5 C, a reading, which sees the mercury turn into a noose and the wave into knots.

I couldn’t stand it for minutes and people are facing it for hours…

Therefore, I can well understand what people without power, without fans, without air conditioners are going through. I couldn’t stand it for minutes and people are facing it for hours, days, weeks and months.

The noose consequently tightens. It begins to char all aspects of ordinary as well as extraordinary lives.

Prolonged high temperatures quickly dry soils, triggering a rapid onset of drought that can affect agriculture, water resources and energy supplies.

Many regions under the June heat dome quickly developed abnormally dry conditions.

The human impacts of the heatwave have also been widespread. Record heat has left several countries sizzling across the Americas, Europe and Asia this year.

In Mexico and Central America, weeks of persistent heat, with temperatures as high as 51.8 C, combined with prolonged drought have led to severe water shortages and dozens of deaths.

In Greece, where temperatures were over 38 C for several straight days in June, at least several tourists died or were feared dead after going hiking in dangerous heat and humidity.

India also faced temperatures around 49C for days in April and May that affected millions of people, many of them without air conditioning.

These record heatwaves are happening in a climate that’s globally about 1.2 C warmer than it was before the industrial revolution, when humans began releasing large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that warm the climate.

The answer to the world becoming a killer furnace lies with us because we are responsible for making it so. Let’s get cracking before it is too late.


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