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India leads global heatwave impact with 619 million affected in June | India News

A record 619 million people in India experienced extreme heat driven by climate change in June, making it the most affected country globally, according to a rapid attribution analysis by Climate Central. China followed closely, with 579 million people enduring similar conditions.
The analysis revealed that nearly 5 billion people worldwide faced extreme heat during this period, with more than 60% of the global population experiencing temperatures made at least three times more likely by climate change.
Andrew Pershing, Vice President for Science at Climate Central, emphasized the dire consequences of continued carbon emissions. “More than a century of burning coal, oil, and natural gas has given us an increasingly dangerous world. The heatwaves popping up around the world this summer are unnatural disasters that will become more and more common until carbon pollution stops,” he said.
India faced one of its most severe and prolonged heatwaves, which subsided in mid-June, resulting in over 40,000 heatstroke cases and more than 100 deaths. Temperatures soared to nearly 50ºC, with nighttime lows reaching 37ºC, the highest ever recorded in the country.
Climate Central’s analysis, covering the period from June 16 to 24, highlighted the extensive impact of extreme heat exacerbated by climate change. The affected populations included:

  • India: 619 million
  • China: 579 million
  • Indonesia: 231 million
  • Nigeria: 206 million
  • Brazil: 176 million
  • Bangladesh: 171 million
  • United States: 165 million
  • Europe (excluding Russia): 152 million
  • Mexico: 123 million
  • Ethiopia: 121 million
  • Egypt: 103 million

In Saudi Arabia, extreme heat during the Hajj pilgrimage resulted in at least 1,300 deaths due to heat-related illnesses. Temperatures in some cities exceeded 50ºC. Climate Central found that Mecca has experienced temperatures made at least three times more likely by climate change since mid-May. A previous analysis by Climameter indicated that climate change made the heatwave in Saudi Arabia up to 2.5ºC hotter.
Greece also faced extreme heat, with the Acropolis in Athens closing due to temperatures above 43ºC, resulting in six tourist deaths, including prominent UK TV doctor Michael Mosley. The Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North Africa experienced similarly high temperatures.
The United States endured back-to-back heatwaves, affecting the southern region, Mexico, and Central America. In Mexico, at least 125 people died, with temperatures reaching 52ºC in Sonora. A subsequent heatwave hit the eastern US, causing a 500-600% increase in heat-related emergency visits in New York. Climameter’s rapid analysis found that climate change made these temperatures up to 2ºC hotter.
The extreme heat also impacted the Copa America football tournament, where an assistant referee collapsed during a match between Peru and Canada due to temperatures of 38ºC and high humidity.
China experienced unprecedented June temperatures, reaching 50ºC, with nighttime temperatures in the mid-30s. The city of Wuhan warned of potential electricity rationing due to increased air conditioner use.
In the Southern Hemisphere, winter temperatures soared, with Paraguay recording 38ºC and Peru 36ºC, both historical highs for June. Egypt saw temperatures nearing 50ºC, with at least 40 deaths in Aswan and daily power cuts to manage increased energy consumption.
Climate change, driven by fossil fuel burning and deforestation, is significantly increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme heatwaves. According to the IPCC, such heatwaves now occur nearly five times more often and are 1.5ºC warmer than in the past. Without rapid reductions in fossil fuel use, these extreme events will become even more common, posing severe risks to human health and safety.
The urgency of addressing climate change was underscored by Johnny White, ClientEarth lawyer, who highlighted the UN’s recent warning to Saudi Aramco about its role in climate-fueled human rights violations. “The climate crisis is the greatest threat to human rights globally. Loss of life and harm to people’s wellbeing will only increase if systemic emitters don’t rapidly rein in the fossil fuels driving dangerous heat spikes and other extreme weather events,” White stated.
Imam Saffet Catovic, Director of UN Operations, Justice For All, called for immediate action to protect vulnerable populations, especially during significant religious events like the Hajj. “Immediate action is crucial. Leaders must safeguard human life (Hifzul Nafs), a fundamental goal of Maqasid Shariah, Islam’s Sacred Law,” he said.
Fahad Saeed, a climate scientist at Climate Analytics, warned that the increasing temperatures during Hajj are a stark example of the need for urgent climate action. “This year’s tragic events in the Hajj should be a wake-up call for one of the world’s largest fossil fuel exporters, Saudi Arabia,” Saeed said.
As global temperatures continue to rise, the call for rapid and decisive action to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy becomes ever more critical to mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect lives worldwide.

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