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Deadly heat threatens the well-being of 1B people in India (wired.com)
103 points by Brajeshwar on April 29, 2023 | hide | past | favorite | 122 comments



Its a lot worse here in Myanmar (Burma). Due to On-Going War and revolution against Coup ,junta cut of power just to starve revolution supporters to death. Yesterday 3 died due to heatstroke near us. Now very hard for business: 12 hours a day power outage even in cities like Yangon (Rangoon) . 2 days ago it was 105 degree F and due to no power we can't have air conditioning . It was so hot in the day that I cannot even sit in-front of laptop for more than 1 hour. It is totally killing.


Great example of the echo chamber/filter bubble effect: this is the first time I've heard about this, and it's been going on since 2021. Wow.


I'm not a big reader of news, but here in germany you hear a lot about the situation over there. Just a few days ago they bombed their own people with fighterjets. And of course there was that meme with the girl doing some yogaclass while in the background you could see the military vehicles starting the coup. """ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r6vnSR0wbI&pp=ygUXbXlhbm1hc... """


Just an observation: in the time I spent in Berlin, I felt like I had a much better idea of what was going on in the world just from local news sources, which surprised me. The UK definitely feels like a bubble in and of itself (hence focusing on RSS feeds instead of TV).

The USA is like the UK dialled up another notch. It's of course very US-centric, as you would expect.


The good thing here is that you have the public-service broadcasters ARD and ZDF which have really good news coverage, corospondents all around the world, or some "newsshows" that also tell you about some forgoten conflicts or such things from time to time. I was living in NewZealand for one year and the TV and newspapers always felt somehow sensationalist to me. One of the things I miss though, are some good FM radio talkstations, but now that we have podcasts thats not so much of a problem anymore.


UK has been able to keep its generations of citizens blissfully unblemished by its true colonial past - the horrors, massacres, and the genocides - many many of each kind of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the more recent events also get rather easily skipped.


Yeah , it happened a few weeks ago and i couldn't focus on anything after that event for a few days. The fear of it could be me and my family , anytime is overwhelming.


I highly recommend the podcast It Could Happen Here, they are good for bursting such bubbles. Last update they had on Myanmar is here: https://omny.fm/shows/it-could-happen-here/the-junta-s-sham-... (or anywhere else you can find podcasts).


Good podcast . For local people here - We are getting killed even for photo graphing silent strike , back in newyear day. The people protest by nobody going out , and the amatuer reporter who just photographed and posted on reddit which was picked up by new sources , got killed 2 days later. Thats why many of us dare not to do podcast/go live on news.


If you’d like to keep up on this and other conflicts and international events, I highly recommend the Economist.


I had posted new sources that cover daily in previous comment , in case to keep updated.


I wouldn't really expect this to get regular coverage outside the region. Just something in the foreign news section when there's a major event. But you can mitigate the bubble effect by bookmarking news sites in multiple countries and browsing all of them.


I follow quite literally thousands of RSS feeds, and this is still the first time I've heard about this. It might be the quantity problem: because there's more coverage on x, coverage on y is easily overlooked because it's such a small percentage of cumulative reporting.


Thousands of newsfeeds sounds like a quantity problem in itself. Even at one post per feed per day doesn't that take up an inordinate amount of your time?


I use a lot of automated filtering against it. I read for maybe an hour per day, just like someone would read a newspaper. I haven't seen live broadcast TV since 2010, so it's not like I spend my life consuming content or anything like that.

The overwhelming majority of them don't even publish every month, let alone every quarter. They're also categorized and prioritized. E.g., a vuln in a piece of software I or a client uses is going to be weighted differently to say a recipe from my wife's blog.


Kinda envy that level of organisation!


Well, to be fair, I have been using RSS since the '90s, and it wasn't an overnight thing, and it's required a lot of trial-and-error, especially since Google Reader and Yahoo Pipes died.

As organized as some aspects of my workflow are, there's areas of my personal life that are quite shambolic.

Some other things that changed my working life:

* Putting a numbered label on all of my several hundred cables that relates to a spreadsheet with connectors, length, colour, where I bought it from (with a URL for fast replacement), warranty period, any notes (condition, suggesting not to buy another or that it needs re-terminating).

* A 'flexible' area of my home office where it isn't my desk, but a usually empty space where I can setup a secondary workspace for myself or others with smaller items. It's always torn down after use so that it can be anything it needs to be on a given day. Even having the ability to get a change of scenery when working from home feels much better mentally than staring at a wall or one of my monitors most of the time.

* Keeping a digital zettelkasten and also treating it as a knowledgebase. I'm very good at having ideas, but appalling at retaining them. Everything reasonably compelling gets written down, that includes solutions to problems that require some degree of complexity, or alternative solutions that may work better for the next time the problem emerges for me or someone else. These little cards are nice to provide others with an actionable and documented solution.

* The "Johnny Decimal" system has been great for digital file management.

As a disclaimer, I was diagnosed with ADHD in the '90s, and if I wasn't somewhat anal over my workflow then very little would happen, if anything.

The human element:

* My closet organization is borderline nil. There's a system emerging if I can stick to it, but we don't talk about the 'laundry chair' in the company of others (heh, hello).

* Organizing food and eating things before the best-before can be challenging at times. I can do a lot better with this. I saw a few compelling FOSS options for this, but I'd have to check my zettelkasten to figure out the names.

* I struggle with responding to IMs. I wish I could 'mark for follow-up' or simply 'mark as unread' on them. I love email from an organizational perspective, but most folks don't like email (no surprise there).


News coverage is strongly biased towards new things, thus the name.

Continuing conflict isn't new, especially if it's not local. Warzones are dangerous, and if none of the sides is interested in protecting reporters, and no side has an affiliated and large contigent of independent risk-taking reporters, there's just not going to be much coverage. If just being an independent reporter is a large risk, also getting close to combat is less likely.


Its true , even photographers that post online got killed and detained. In last month bombing incident , the junta send Mi35 gunships 8 hrs later , to get rid of the people who are gathering evidences.


Many news agency won't cover it , but here are local news sources with unbiased news and with good english. They can't operate inside country since coup since journalist got detained or killed. https://myanmar-now.org/en/ https://mizzima.com https://www.irrawaddy.com


I wish the international community would classify weaponizing utilities and food supplies as war crimes.


I was in Delhi maybe 5-6 years ago for a week before going to the North. It was May/June. The temperatures in the morning (7AM) were around 100F or 40C. I'd walk out on my hotels tiny little balcony with little sunlight seeping through the cracks of the streets, and I'd still get an instant burn on my skin.

At that time I had visited many different countries in Asia (Cambodia is the only one that could compete with India in terms of raw heat), but to this day I will never forget that feeling of just rapid heat acceleration in such early morning hours.

Imagine what that does to the environment "behind the scenes".

Right now, I am in Norway (northernmost part of Western Norway) and it will be May in two days. Last night, we had a snowstorm so strong all the mountains in the area got covered in snow. The Winter itself was average, with hardly any cold periods except for a month of "expected" Winter.

I don't know how anyone plans to address global warming, I really don't, but I know for a fact that weather 20 years ago was much different to what it is now. Where I grew up - Winters used to be -30C (-22F) for 3 months straight and Spring would kick in. For the last 10 years or so, in many places in Eastern Europe - a Winter consists of a little cold a bit of damp weather, that's it.


Kim Stanley Robinson cutting it a little too close here...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ministry_for_the_Future


I learned about the wet bulb temperature from his book.

Wet bulb temperature measures heat and humidity at the same time.

It's the lowest temperature that can be achieved through evaporative cooling, measured using a thermometer covered in a water-soaked cloth to simulate the cooling effect of evaporation on the surrounding air.

If the wet bulb temperature stays above body temperature for a long time, you will die since there's no way to cool off.

The book speculates that even when tens of millions of Indians die from the heat, that won't be enough to get nations and corporations to fix the problem.

In his narrative, the only solution is a global clandestine black-ops campaign of sabotage and assassination to target the powerful individuals blocking progress to protect their own wealth.


“The only way to prevent this scary thing is regime change.”

This narrative sounds familiar.


By definition.

------

regime, noun

1) a regular pattern of doing something

2) a method of rule or management

3) a system of principles, rules, or regulations

4) a governmental or social system


If he's cutting it a little too close, perhaps that's because society/civilization is, too.


The first chapter of his book (covering the heat wave) is incredibly chilling. The rest of the book is quite meh and not very good.


Still only a quarter of the way through, so can't judge the entirety yet, but totally agree on chapter 1.

It was suffocating - I couldn't wait to go out for a walk that single-digit Celsius rainy day


I feel the same. In fact, it felt like a bunch of background research for a novel, interspersed with some early drafts of the novel. I really found it to be the worst thing he's written.


I disagree with you there. I think the book paints a plausible way out of the crisis we are in, and shows what systemic changes need to happen to create a positive future for humanity. It's one of the few books that paints a realistic path away from the horrific future that capitalism is driving humanity towards.


this was my thought as well


An electricity-free technology to cool an area by reflecting all sunlight energy and simultaneously emitting black body radiation in the atmospheric mid IR window (unlike metals, which have low emissivity) is useful here.

They are an existing emerging technology. White paint helps somewhat but doesn’t work well in the IR. The current best performing film is made by 3M: https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/energy-conservation-us/applicati...


This part of the world needs something cheap and low tech. No one who is at risk has the money for cutting edge building materials.

Mirrors on every roof? Polished steel? Brick or concrete walls? At a city level, low tech could still make a difference.


There are multiple "cool roof" products already sold in India. They should have lower performance than the 3M film, but also much lower cost.

I wonder if there's an low-cost additive that could give these existing products high emissivity in the atmospheric IR window?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeZDrFqJcj8

https://www.panachegreen.com/high-sri-coatings/cool-tops-pre...

https://thermacool.in/


Have to consider performance cost per unit time. Usually low cost options have to be replaced so quickly to actually have an impact that they are actually more expensive.


You still need to consider up-front affordability. A product could have high net present value, but if you don't have enough money to purchase it then the product might as well not exist.

>Usually low cost options have to be replaced so quickly to actually have an impact that they are actually more expensive.

I don't think that's what's happening here. You're comparing a product from 3M that's at the "fill out this form for a pilot project and we'll contact you" phase, whereas the Indian products can be bought by the bucketful, today.

Some of these coatings have real-world service lifetimes of 5-8 years.

How does this compare to your preferred 3M film?


Yeah, unfortunately it is so new that the information doesn’t exist for exactly this material:

https://arpa-e.energy.gov/technologies/projects/passive-radi... Describes the arpa-e funding

https://www.startribune.com/can-a-new-3m-technology-help-cli...

Shows the fruits of the research already reducing energy usage by 10% for supermarkets in a cold climate…

Anyway, exciting future!


A https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windcatcher is electricity-free and the technology seems to have been invented in Iran some millennia ago. (But maybe itʼs not applicable everywhere and too costly for too many people.)


Metal and mirrors retain heat due to the metal being near the air surface.

A real life example: think of your experience with a hot stone/glass surface and a hot steel surface. It’s much harder to tell the steel is hot until you touch it due to how it emits radiative heat.


Yeah, but maybe they can reflect enough back into the sky to be a net win. Ultimately you need something simple with the highest possible net energy rejection, whether by radiation or reflection or both.


white paint


Needs anti dust surface performance or else it absorbs soon, also doesn’t reflect on the mid far IR.


Quoting the article:

>But government authorities have underestimated the danger, the study found. Officials rely on a climate vulnerability assessment, designed by India’s Department of Science and Technology, that indicates a smaller percentage of the country faces high risk from climate change than the new findings suggest

The Indian state's persistent denial of science and criticism will continue to cost Indians their lives. It happened during COVID and will happen again in years to come.

There is a worse problem here - heat causes electric power demand to rise. No gigawatt-scale power grid anywhere on the planet has supplied increased demand through renewables. What will happen is simple - coal and gas output will increase and this is an unfortunate but vicious cycle. Carbon emissions will only make the problem worse in the short term.


> There is a worse problem here - heat causes electric power demand to rise. No gigawatt-scale power grid anywhere on the planet has supplied increased demand through renewables.

I expect that, for India, the solution will be to build a thousand megawatt-scale power grids, or, more likely, millions of sub-kilowatt-scale power grids.

Connect a solar panel to a battery and an AC unit, and you have a standalone AC unit that works whenever there’s lots of sun, and in India that correlates reasonably well to ‘whenever it’s scorching hot’.

With solar already cheaper to build than running _existing_ coal plants in India (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/solar/report-its-now-ch...), I expect that to even be economical, even if such standalone units waste energy if there’s sun but not need for AC.


it's not that simple and never is. Solar panels operate at peak power for around one hour per day. Adding tracking is not cheap or trivial.

I regularly point out that those "prices" of renewable energy are predicated on a VERY important assumption - that the rest of the grid exists to deliver power when the renewable generators are not running. That has a cost and it not currently attributed to the source of the problem - the renewable generators. Rather, you and i pay that price.


>The Indian state's persistent denial of science and criticism will continue to cost Indians their lives. It happened during COVID and will happen again in years to come.

Perhaps this isn't an issue for the Gov. India losing 100-300 million people due to some catastrophic event would probably not even be noticed since it will be the poorest part of the population that will suffer the consequences.The only possibilities for salvation I can see is clean, renewable, endless energy or mass human migration to more temperate regions of the world.


Uh, you're forgetting the logistics of dealing with the losses of 100-300 million people. Look at how COVID-19 filled morgues globally. India is in absolutely no position to deal with the logistics of a loss of life on that scale, and thus it would absolutely be noticed, disease spreading rapidly, creating a secondary humanitarian crisis.


The Indian government is funding implementation of Dense Plasma Focus devices which harness energy from a Plasmoid. Apparently, these power generators can fit on a large truck. I wonder what the current status of this is.

https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/focus-fusion-is-the-hottest-id...


India relies on Coal because it does not have NG infrastructure, and with Ukraine war, the NG market shot-up in price because EU has basically bid-up the traditional NG suppliers to Global South.

Remember when you take Carbon emissions per Capita, India is no where near China or US. So people pissing on India should know better, but they will any way because they an axe to grind.


The urban legend is, the weather reports hide the actual upper temperatures (replacing them with lower temps) because the true numbers would drive more farmers to suicide...

At least the fact that the heat/dryness lead to suicide is true, although I can't verify if they would give up after hearing the weather predictions or after their crops failed:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=india+hot+weather+farmer+suicides&...

Well this was a morbid comment...


Farmers don’t own thermometers?


Bob Dylan says "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".


If you are genuinely concerned about protecting the planet, how about completely banning all kinds of meat especially beef since they cause the largest amount of Co's production and why not shut down the coal power plants in whichever rich part of the world you are from. Statistically speaking those would be of greater help than this random take

Indian state is one of the most useful for science and hence pursue vegetarianism and concepts like Life.

If you want perhaps start by yourself and reduce your carbon footprint.


Why not nuclear?


India has 6 or so, Nuclear Power stations under construction, they will come online soon.


no can do. too scary ,see Chernobyl and Fukushima


Virtually, no one died because of those disasters, surprisingly. Nuclear is infinitely safer than most other forms of energy and it has a better environmental footprint.


True, but in reality what can India do ? Its position on the Globe puts it directly in "harms way", they could cut carbon to 0 but that would not really help them. As long as all other countries are opening up Coal Plants (China) and more Oil Fields (US), places like this will feel a lot of pain.


> but that would not really help them

But it would? It wouldn't solve the problem, but it would be part of not making it worse.


Going to 0 carbon is not free, otherwise every country would be doing it.


That doesn't change the fact that reducing carbon emissions would help with the problem.


India will turn to geo engineering i guess. Either sulfur into the atmosphere or low orbit dust rings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratospheric_aerosol_injectio... https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S02731...


Will it? It's merely a proposed idea. There are uncertainties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratospheric_aerosol_injectio...


As well as other possible side effects such as: ozone depletion, stratospheric temperature change, deposition and acid rain, effects on crop yields, etc. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratospheric_aerosol_injectio...


Countries will obviously start taking risks with uncertainties when it becomes certain that they risk destruction due to rising heat.


Is that obvious? The proposed method has the possible side effect of ozone depletion. Increasing UV creates a whole new set of problems.


Pretty obvious that if a billion people finds themselves in the conditions that the article describes they will take drastic measures.


It's surprising that the article doesn't seem to consider the potential benefits of heating, especially when it comes to mitigating the adverse effects of cold weather. For instance, this study conducted in India [0] found that cold-related deaths significantly outnumbered heat-related deaths. Given this, I think it's important to weigh the advantages of heating against its drawbacks when discussing this topic.

[0] https://phys.org/news/2022-01-cold-deaths-india.html


Both are bad and to be avoided. One doesn’t prevent the other. You can have simultaneously more deaths in the winter and more deaths in the summer. Climate is getting more extreme, not just “hotter”.


Is there any co-relation between heat waves and the temperature during the winter months? Anecdotally, it just seems like we are caught between an ever-lengthening gap of higher temperatures during summer and lower temperatures during winter.


That's because they're more prepared for heat, and have clothes and structures designed to handle the heat at the expense of cold.

Like how Texas has lots of heat waves that cause issues, but there was far more havoc and death during that cold snap.


ok, but people are still overheating due to to the increased heat in the summer. Maybe now only 100million more people risk heatstroke and 200million less risk freezing to death in the winter, that doesn’t mean there’s a very very big problem


This isn’t surprising.

Mentioning facts like that would violate the narrative.


Walk me through how knowing that people also die of cold exposure violates the narrative that there is a deadly heat wave threatening 1B people in India? Is this something logically consistent or a non-sequitor?


Fewer people are dying globally due to climate change net decreasing extreme cold events.

This is an unpopular fact to state for obvious reasons.


If you’re going to make this kind of utilitarian argument, then you have to demonstrate that global warming harms fewer people overall, not just that there are fewer cold-related deaths.


So we should spend the money to directly help these people?


I think it's more realistic to move out of areas that will be uninhabitable (edited typo) than fight nature, but that's me. Move north, escape the heat, don't buy property in coast lines or future deserts and emigrate now so your family doesn't have to deal with useless real estate or become climate refugees. Moving now is way easier than in a couple generations.

Most people are worried about "the end of the world" when they should be worried about way more practical things which are much more likely.


Europe is still reeling from the displacement of about 14M Syrian refugees. What do you think that will happen if any significant percentage of one billion people will try to find a better life by "moving North"? Do you think China and Russia are better equipped to accept those numbers?


If Russia collapses, that’s a lot of freed up land for climate refugees (depending on level of functioning government remains).



Mirnoye vostochny, Comrade!

Until the zillions of mosquitos ignite in one big dust explosion(by lightning, or whatever), and thereby produce a new Tunguska event.

Or 'Life finds a way.' (c.f. Jurassic Park) and some old pestilence thaws up and multiplies.


The displacement of a billion Indians brings with it its own set of problems.


Maybe we shouldn't have allowed 1 billion of them to accumulate in the first place in such an inhospitable area.

This is yet again a direct consequence of technology advances and government meddling that has created a down-the-line humanitarian crisis by propping up unsustainable behavior.

We will sadly have either a billion dead bodies, or the rest of the world incurring the cost to house an extra billion.


> Maybe we shouldn't have allowed 1 billion of them to accumulate in the first place in such an inhospitable area.

Was the British Empire was too lenient to their subjects?


I honestly don't get why you have to take such an extreme interpretation of my comment. Since it may not be so obvious, my main criticism was of government in general.


the north indian plans are among the most fertile soils in the world. Same with the Yangtze river delta in China. India has the advantage of being closer to the equator hence winters are milder. So mild that many parts of india have not one or two but three growing seasons.

India's population being what it is, is not surprising.


> inhabitable

Minor typo: but uninhabitable. Relevant simpsons clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8mD2hsxrhQ


It’s not “nature”. It’s “man”. Man can be fought.


we should spend the money to help all humans, its already going to be bad. We need to move faster and prob manhattan project carbon removal tech


What percentage of Americans’ income should go to these projects? And should we take care of our own citizens first?


> should we take care of our own (American) citizens first?

We should take care of the planet. We all live on it and catastrophic heat waves and extreme weather are not polite and do not respect the thick black lines we've drawn on maps.

For avoidance of doubt, I am absolutely saying that if those of us who are citizens or residents of the United States, European Union (with or without the United Kingdom), Australia, Canada, Japan, and anywhere else anyone might think of needs to take a hit to our net incomes and economic circumstances in order to keep the planet habitable, I am all for it.


I'm only seeing policies which seem designed to change the behaviour of the less well-off: a daily charge for driving in certain areas that is priced the same whether you are an average Joe in a compact car or millionaire in a super-car is not going to influence the latter.


I asked for a percentage.


Such a project will take care of our citizens. Maybe not "first" because technically it takes care of ALL people first, and therefore no one is "second." The US gov would be in a unique position to do it owing of course to the pool of talent and resources it can draw from. I don't have a clue where you live, but I live in the Mountain West and the water wars are constant issue on peoples minds. Not to mention, changing climate will induce immigration. Where do you think people will immigrate if they can? If your argument is about "American's first" with falling birthrates and neoliberal supremacy and whatnot, you're going to have a whole lot of new neighbors if their climate gets worse, because America first.


That’s a long answer that doesn’t address my question.


Addresses the second question. It's impossible to answer your first. And if you're looking for short answers to those sorts of questions, well then you should already know ;)


Why should I already know? I’m not the one volunteering even more of Americans’ hard-won tax dollars to save people in other countries when we have many, many people hurting in our own country. Those in favor of taking more of my money are responsible for presenting a compelling reason to do so.


You are naive if you don't think your tax dollars right now are going to a million things in a million different ways that don't benefit you, and that it's not intentional. In the end such decisions aren't made by convincing people like you or me they work in our favor or the American people's favor. I won't try to convince you. You didn't understand what I meant by "you already know" and you didn't respond to anything I said, just kept parroting your line of reasoning.


You made a bunch of assertions that amount to taking even more money from American taxpayers. It’s your responsibility to present the deliverables and their cost.


We should take care of earthlings first. Then we can help the creatures from Venus. I really hate them though because their flag is red.


So don't help these people directly but fund large projects instead?


Why does it need to be one thing?


What solutions are available?


Replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy and nuclear power. If US spent even a fraction of the resources on that instead of maintaining its global military empire, the world would be in a far better place today.


How quickly can nuclear be rolled out relative to the impact on the well-being of a billion people? And what does the mitigation of the existing problem look like assuming projected figures of x?


Here's the timeline for China to become carbon neutral https://www.visualcapitalist.com/chinas-energy-transition-in...

China will spend 400 billion to build at least 150 new nuclear plants https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-11-02/china-cli...

China currently has 24 nuclear power plants under active construction, with a combined power output of 26 gigawatts https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202304/27/WS6449c703a310b605...

In addition, one in five solar panels installed worldwide last year were mounted on a Chinese roof, providing locally distributed power that supplements the grid https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2023-03-27/why-china...

China now dominates the world in solar power production https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-china-is-domi...

This year, China has further widened the gap in renewable usage https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/china-widens-ren...

This is what can be achieved when a country directs its resources towards infrastructure projects instead of imperialism.


But China is China and India is India. Climate-wise, they are not the same.

Again: if India were to tick all the boxes, what are the projected figures on mitigating the existing problem versus projected worsening of the problem in the future if they don't?

Are a significant number of them going to be able to afford the power generated? Are a significant number of them going to be able to afford the air conditioning units?

How much does this help the problem of failed crops in terms of reversing climate change?

India has 1.8m homeless people. Socioeconomics are going to play a part in this too, and the poor always cop for these problems the worst.

Whichever way you cut it, this seems to be a huge humanitarian crisis brewing.


I don't think it makes sense to look at this as China or India problem. This is a problem the entire human race faces. It's also important to note that people in India who are already affected by this crisis are the ones with least agency and who are the least responsible for it.

Emissions are largely driven by people living in western countries who use stupendous amounts of energy and for whom the goods countries like India manufacture. The west moved much of its industry to the Global South, but the emissions from that industry are driven by demand that comes from western consumers. Seems to me that we need to look at this problem holistically, and all countries should be putting in at least as much effort as China to transition off fossil fuel usage.

Given that this isn't actually happening, I agree that we're likely to see a massive humanitarian crisis in India. As these events become more frequent and affect increasing number of countries we'll see refugee crises, wars, and likely collapse of the global civilization. That's the most likely scenario given the track we're currently on.


What would directly help people in a heat wave on a timescale that matters to them?


I don't know, I also don't know if 1bn people could be helped on a timescale that matters to them, hence asking. It's well outside of my area of expertise, but I'm curious.


How about some tech to provide cooler living spaces for these people?


Such as what?

The article states "Even as power plants burned more coal to provide the power needed to keep people cool, the country experienced a nationwide electricity shortage.", so AC units aren't going to solve the problem.


Ive always wondered if houses and buildings could be architected to absorb heat and use it for energy

Maybe even providing heat proof shelters (like bus stops etc) every x km may help immediately. Maybe.


Heatproof shelters aren't solving the problem. If you assume the hypothetical impact on well-being to a billion human beings, and potential deaths of 100-300 million human beings, what kind of physical scale are we looking at to shelter a billion human beings assuming one shelter every x km? It's about on a par with only equipping a large commercial airliner with a single oxygen mask.

How about the materials required? The scale of manufacturing? The impact of the manufacturing on the environment? The impact of shipping and installing them on the environment?

It would sooner make sense to create underground cities, but that's no small endeavour.


> Heatproof shelters aren't solving the problem

> How about the materials required? The scale of manufacturing? The impact of the manufacturing on the environment? The impact of shipping and installing them on the environment?

So we don't have the competence or resources to directly help people with heat waves but we have the competence & resources for a bigger than Manhattan Project scale effort for climactic scale projects such as carbon capture & moving humanity underground?

Perhaps there's some already invented devices which can cool a dwelling?


Infrastructural changes always sound scary and impossible, and I am in no way saying one solution is the best or indeed going to work. But good questions maybe, which is why I am saying innovation is required. Changing our way of life is possible though, say when people switched to cars from carriages or when we switched to electricity and laid out the various grid systems. Asking people to move north is not going to cut it or be enough. When a technology is useful or practical or helpful, making the switch is easier.


Don't sweat it, we live on a ice planet that has regular ice ages... And we are overdue for the next ice age


Waiting for the HN expert to chime in that temperatures in India are actually at an all time low and the article is indeed wrong. Also, they were in India recently and the temperatures seemed fine and people were outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Furthermore, an increase in temperatures in India is actually a positive thing for the people and economy and the article should be ignored.


I think there is something to finding creative technological solutions. It seems unkind and impractical to ask people to avoid such regions or not live there. People have histories, communities and culture. It can be abandoned in a time of need, but displacement can create trauma, which may have multigenerational effects. I don't study climate science or climate justice, but my bet is that those who can take these environmental threats and instead turn them into a boon, e.g. a new manufacturing technique that reduces carbon emissions or optimizes carbon sequestering for energy production, will have something everyone will want.


Quoting. "OTEC (Ocean thermal energy conversion) can also supply quantities of cold water as a by-product. This can be used for refrigeration and can help crops and fish grow. OTEC can also produce large amounts of salt-free water"

... heck I read all the stuff written here and am thinking now 'someone may have patents for that...' (-;




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