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On May 15, Delhi recorded its highest-ever temperature as two weather stations in the city saw the mercury shoot past 49 degrees Celsius. This was part of an extraordinary heatwave that has gripped North India and, despite Cyril Radcliffe’s best efforts, Pakistan too.
“This heatwave is testing the limits of human survivability,” one Indian expert told CNN. India (and Pakistan) are notoriously bad at tracking cause of deaths as the recent Covid-19 pandemic illustrated. But the effects of the heatwave can already be measured in other ways.
India’s wheat output fell by 3% year-on-year as the crop shrivelled up in the fields. Prices of wheat flour have shot up by 13% year-on-year, forcing the Indian government to scramble to ban exports of the grain. The heat has also led to a surge in the demand for electric power – one major factor behind a power crisis that has gripped India, as sweltering temperatures were accompanied by more frequent power cuts.
What led to this incredible heat? The finger points towards climate change: the change of weather patterns due to industrial emissions of greenhouse gases such...