Summer has arrived in South Asia WAY too early.
The region is already hard-hit by climate change. Extreme heat is common in May. But not in April and March, both of which were the hottest across much of India for more than a century.
“It’s smoldering hot! It’s also humid, which is making it very difficult,” Chrisell Rebello, 37, told NPR in line outside a Mumbai ice cream parlor at 11 p.m. “We need a lot of cold drinks, air conditioning – and multiple baths a day.”
Only a fraction of Indians — mostly, the wealthy — have air conditioning. Instead people soak rags in water and hang them in doors and windows.
Still, electric fans and AC have pushed India’s electricity demand to a record high.
The problem is that 70% of India’s electricity comes from coal. So the government is converting passenger trains to cargo service, to rush coal supplies to beleaguered power plants, and also importing more coal from abroad.
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SOURCE: NPR, Lauren Frayer