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36 Die in India Heat Wave, Delhi Records Its Highest All-Time Temperature
The four, aged between 69 and 81, had been returning from the holy city of Varanasi to Kerala in the south, The Independent reported. Railway official Manoj Kumar said they collapsed in their carriage and were pronounced dead by doctors waiting at the Jhansi station.
The deaths come as the total number of fatalities in one of India's most intense and longest-lasting heat waves has reached at least 36, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Temperatures have soared to 50.6 degrees Celsius (123 degrees Fahrenheit), and the high temperatures are expected to impact 23 states this year, up from nine in 2015 and 19 in 2018, India's National Disaster Management Authority expert Anup Kumar Srivastava said.
#Heatwave conditions in many parts with a severe heat wave in some parts very likely over West Rajasthan; Heat wave in many parts with severe heat— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) June 11, 2019
wave in isolated pockets over East #Rajasthan & #MadhyaPradesh; #Heatwave to a severe heat wave in isolated pockets over UP.
"This year, the number of heat wave days [has] also increased — and it's not just day temperature, night temperatures have also been high," Srivastava told The New York Times.
India has increasingly suffered from extreme heat in recent years. 2018 was the country's sixth hottest year on record, and 11 of its 15 warmest years have occurred since 2004, The Independent reported. The capital of New Delhi broke its all-time record Monday with a high of 48 degrees Celsius, according to The Times of India.
"Science as well as our subjective experiences has made it unequivocally clear that longer, hotter and deadlier summers are poised to become the norm due to climate change," environmental researcher Hem Dholakia wrote, as The Independent reported.
This year's heat wave has closed schools and universities, prompted authorities to use water to cool baking streets and forced police to guard water tankers in Madhya Pradesh state after fights over supply turned deadly, The Independent reported.
In one shocking incident, around 15 monkeys died in Joshi Baba forest range in Bagli, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. Forest officials think they might have died of heat stroke after another group of monkeys prevented them from accessing the closest water source, India Today reported.
Overall, however, the death toll from India's heat waves has actually decreased in the last four years. More than 2,000 people died in 2015, but that number fell to 375 in 2017 and 20 in 2018, The New York Times reported. Officials say this is because the government has made an effort to reduce the death toll by encouraging residents to reduce or alter the time spent working on hot days and by providing free drinking water to hard-hit populations. However, Srivastava said the government's resources had been taxed this year by the country's huge national election.
The current heat wave may drag on, as monsoon rains have been delayed this year.
- Hotter Planet Makes Extreme Weather Deadlier, New Study Finds ... ›
- Hottest Four Years Ever? 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018? - EcoWatch ›
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By Johnny Wood
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By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.