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Climate change amplifying health impacts

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental pollution and degradation


Source: Indian Express

 Directions: This Article has been taken from the Indian Express editorial. Go through it once, you can use it for value addition.


Context:  Ahead of COP27, the Lancet report has said that the continued dependence on fossil fuels is compounding the health impacts of the multiple crises the world is facing.


Key highlights of the report:

  • Impact on Vulnerable populations – the elderly and children under 1 year of age – are at acute risk of heat stress, heat stroke, and other adverse physical and mental health
  • Wildfires: Drier and hotter weather is making conditions increasingly suitable for the start and spread of wildfires, putting people’s health and safety at risk.
  • Spread of diseases: Climate change is affecting the distribution and transmission of many infectious diseases, including vector-borne, food-borne, and waterborne diseases.
    • The climatic suitability for the transmission of dengue increased by about 11% for Aedes aegypti and 12% for Aedes albopictus from 1951–60 to 2012–21


  • Food insecurity: On average, 29% more of the global land area was affected by extreme drought annually between 2012–2021, than between 1951–1960.


  • India specific: Highlights
    • Decrease in growth season: The duration of the growing season for maize has decreased by 2%, compared to a 1981-2010 baseline, while rice and winter wheat have each decreased by 1%.
    • Increased heat wave events
    • Increase in heat-related deaths: From 2000-2004 to 2017-2021, heat-related deaths increased by 55% in India.
    • Loss of labour hours
    • Vector-borne diseases

Mitigation measures needed:

  • Adapting heat action plans in each city. For instance, the Ahmedabad heat action plan that has shown mortality can be reduced should be adapted everywhere.
  • Focus on achieving Paris goal: A failure to tackle climate change would see heat extremes escalate even more dangerously.
  • Specific programmes such as shock responsive protection schemes, social assistance programmes for inability to work and lost wages due to heat and expanded workplace protections – are some practical solutions.
  • Focus on Preventive measures like enhancement of green spaces (strategic planting and less pruning of trees to provide more shade).
    • Healthy and green urban redesign will promote physical activity and deliver more friendly, liveable cities. Today, just 27% of urban centres are classified as moderately-green or above.
  • Burning of dirty fuels needs to be minimised as soon as possible to reduce the accompanying health impacts.


Insta Links

Prelims link.

  • COP27
  • Outcome of COP26
  • Five Nectar Elements (Panchamrit)
  • About Lancet countdown report 2022
  • Paris climate change targets.

Mains Links:

Q. Analyse the growing impacts of climate change on India. Are the steps taken so far adequate enough to tackle climate change?

Q. Evaluate India’s response to the climate change crisis. Has India prioritised economic growth over environmental sustainability? (250 words)