‘Systemic failure of world order’: Kissinger & elder statesmen take on modern challenges

‘Systemic failure of world order’: Kissinger & elder statesmen take on modern challenges
In testimony before the Senate, national security strategists from the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations identified nuclear annihilation, climate change and emerging technologies as major challenges facing the US.

Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz were joined at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. They all referred to the rising threat of nuclear annihilation through the erosion of international cohesion rather than consolidation.

North Korea

“My immediate concern is if North Korea still possess a miliarity nuclear capability the impact on the proliferation of nuclear weapons might be fundamental, because if North Korea could maintain its capability in the face of opposition by China and the US and disapproval by the rest of the world, other countries will think this is the way for achieving international prominence and gain an upper hand in international disputes,” Kissinger told the committee.

He said the Iranian agreement paradoxically legitimized the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power and the North Korean situation was even more acute “because they are closer to developing weapons than Iran.”

“Not only the survival of open society but the survival of our entire civilization is at stake” –
Soros https://on.rt.com/8xrx 

Soros warns Trump may destroy ‘our entire civilization’ over North Korea — RT US News

Billionaire George Soros says President Donald Trump is “a danger to the world,” but that the administration “will disappear in 2020 or even sooner.”

rt.com

“We need to make a distinction between measures that relieve the immediate situation but make the ultimate situation even more severe,” Kissinger proffered as a solution, “all the more so because the problem of Iran is just down the road.”

Skirting over how President Ronald Reagan escalated tensions with the USSR with his missile defense system program, Shultz said Reagan thought nuclear weapons were immoral.

“In those days, people seemed to have an appreciation of what would be the result if a nuclear weapon were ever used,” Shultz told senators. “I fear people have lost that sense of dread. And now we see everything going in the other direction with nuclear proliferation. The more countries with nuclear weapons, the more likely one is going to go off somewhere.”

Regime change war policy is the reason why North Korea sees nuclear weapons as their only deterrent from U.S.-led regime change. They’ve seen what we did in Iraq and in Libya. We must end these policies and engage in direct talks to peacefully de-escalate the nuclear crisis.

Shultz’s major concern was over unregulated fission material and how easy, once acquired, it was to make a weapon that “can blow up the world.”

Reagan’s former secretary of state stressed the importance of having a different relationship with Russia, since “after all, Russia and US have the most nuclear weapons to start something.”

To deal with proliferation, he said,“we need to put a stop sign in front of Russia and make them come to their senses, and then start working with them.”

For Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, however, the threat of nuclear annihilation was not existential.

“To be an existential threat to annihilate the United States, it occurs to me you have to have the capability and the desire. China has the capability, but does not have the desire – she has too much skin in the game. Russia has the capability but does not have the desire, she prefers to use other methods to undermine the US and Eastern Europe, and Ukraine,” Armitage told the committee. “North Korea and Iran, they don’t yet have the capability and their desire is unknown. ISIS [Islamic State] and terrorists group have the intention but they don’t have the capability. So we have to keep our eye on the ball, and the ball is to keep our peer competitors from becoming our adversaries.”

Middle East

For Kissinger, current events in the Middle East represent a disintegration of the international system that has existed since the end of the Second World War.

“Every country is either a combatant or a theater of conflict,” Kissinger told the committee. He said the defeat of IS would lead to the question of ‘what happens next,’ and the concern about who will occupy the territories it once held.

“The Iranian and Russian forces will become dominant and we will see a belt emerging that goes from Tehran to Beirut,” said Kissinger, arguing that this “undermines the structure of the region and creates long-term challenges.”

US, Russia & China

In Kissinger’s view, the dominant element of world politics will be the great power relationships between the US, China and Russia. He said the major questions going forward will be the strategic relationship between these countries vis-a-vis the prospect of peace, and if their values are compatible enough to encourage an agreed-upon legitimacy.

“The balance of power must be maintained,” Kissinger said. “This is the key issue in our relationship.”

Kissinger said the US needs a cooperative Russia for peace in the world, because of its reach. Russia has a large military and covers 11 time zones with no natural borders.

“I would now look for a way to establish meaningful dialogue with Russia,” he said. The major sticking point would be Ukraine, which Kissinger says would be “unwise” to include in NATO, but “it’s also impossible to let it exist as a satellite of Russia.”

“Ukraine is sort of a borderland of this conception,” said Kissinger, noting that an ideal solution would be to have it politically and economically part of the West, but neutral towards Russia like Finland was during the Cold War.

“The question is if one can think of a military arrangement there that would not be confrontational,” he said.

Shultz said that advances in small, smart cheap weapons using nanotechnology and drones “will redefine the battlefield” and could be readily employed by NATO allies.

New tech, old threats

Shultz pointed out that technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and drones are causing massive changes in the economic and political spheres, and will inevitably change warfare.

“What is happening because of these forces is de-globalization. It is already happening. This is not something for the future,” said Shultz. “It is becoming more possible to produce the things you want close to where you are, so the advantages of low labor costs are disappearing.”

Such changes he argued would reduce shipping costs, have an impact on energy, and a major impact on low-cost labor.

“It is a revolution in the economy, and has all sorts of security implications,” Shultz said.

“Robotics, 3D printing and AI are driving manufacturing and causing a big shift from labor to automation. Robot sales are estimated to reach 400,000 in 2018. Collaborative robots (Colbot) assisting human workers will dramatically increase human productivity.”

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Courtesy: RT

 

‘Systemic failure of world order’: Kissinger & elder statesmen take on modern challenges

‘Systemic failure of world order’: Kissinger & elder statesmen take on modern challenges
In testimony before the Senate, national security strategists from the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations identified nuclear annihilation, climate change and emerging technologies as major challenges facing the US.

Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz were joined at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. They all referred to the rising threat of nuclear annihilation through the erosion of international cohesion rather than consolidation.

North Korea

“My immediate concern is if North Korea still possess a miliarity nuclear capability the impact on the proliferation of nuclear weapons might be fundamental, because if North Korea could maintain its capability in the face of opposition by China and the US and disapproval by the rest of the world, other countries will think this is the way for achieving international prominence and gain an upper hand in international disputes,” Kissinger told the committee.

He said the Iranian agreement paradoxically legitimized the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power and the North Korean situation was even more acute “because they are closer to developing weapons than Iran.”

“Not only the survival of open society but the survival of our entire civilization is at stake” –
Soros https://on.rt.com/8xrx 

Soros warns Trump may destroy ‘our entire civilization’ over North Korea — RT US News

Billionaire George Soros says President Donald Trump is “a danger to the world,” but that the administration “will disappear in 2020 or even sooner.”

rt.com

“We need to make a distinction between measures that relieve the immediate situation but make the ultimate situation even more severe,” Kissinger proffered as a solution, “all the more so because the problem of Iran is just down the road.”

Skirting over how President Ronald Reagan escalated tensions with the USSR with his missile defense system program, Shultz said Reagan thought nuclear weapons were immoral.

“In those days, people seemed to have an appreciation of what would be the result if a nuclear weapon were ever used,” Shultz told senators. “I fear people have lost that sense of dread. And now we see everything going in the other direction with nuclear proliferation. The more countries with nuclear weapons, the more likely one is going to go off somewhere.”

Regime change war policy is the reason why North Korea sees nuclear weapons as their only deterrent from U.S.-led regime change. They’ve seen what we did in Iraq and in Libya. We must end these policies and engage in direct talks to peacefully de-escalate the nuclear crisis.

Shultz’s major concern was over unregulated fission material and how easy, once acquired, it was to make a weapon that “can blow up the world.”

Reagan’s former secretary of state stressed the importance of having a different relationship with Russia, since “after all, Russia and US have the most nuclear weapons to start something.”

To deal with proliferation, he said,“we need to put a stop sign in front of Russia and make them come to their senses, and then start working with them.”

For Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, however, the threat of nuclear annihilation was not existential.

“To be an existential threat to annihilate the United States, it occurs to me you have to have the capability and the desire. China has the capability, but does not have the desire – she has too much skin in the game. Russia has the capability but does not have the desire, she prefers to use other methods to undermine the US and Eastern Europe, and Ukraine,” Armitage told the committee. “North Korea and Iran, they don’t yet have the capability and their desire is unknown. ISIS [Islamic State] and terrorists group have the intention but they don’t have the capability. So we have to keep our eye on the ball, and the ball is to keep our peer competitors from becoming our adversaries.”

Middle East

For Kissinger, current events in the Middle East represent a disintegration of the international system that has existed since the end of the Second World War.

“Every country is either a combatant or a theater of conflict,” Kissinger told the committee. He said the defeat of IS would lead to the question of ‘what happens next,’ and the concern about who will occupy the territories it once held.

“The Iranian and Russian forces will become dominant and we will see a belt emerging that goes from Tehran to Beirut,” said Kissinger, arguing that this “undermines the structure of the region and creates long-term challenges.”

US, Russia & China

In Kissinger’s view, the dominant element of world politics will be the great power relationships between the US, China and Russia. He said the major questions going forward will be the strategic relationship between these countries vis-a-vis the prospect of peace, and if their values are compatible enough to encourage an agreed-upon legitimacy.

“The balance of power must be maintained,” Kissinger said. “This is the key issue in our relationship.”

Kissinger said the US needs a cooperative Russia for peace in the world, because of its reach. Russia has a large military and covers 11 time zones with no natural borders.

“I would now look for a way to establish meaningful dialogue with Russia,” he said. The major sticking point would be Ukraine, which Kissinger says would be “unwise” to include in NATO, but “it’s also impossible to let it exist as a satellite of Russia.”

“Ukraine is sort of a borderland of this conception,” said Kissinger, noting that an ideal solution would be to have it politically and economically part of the West, but neutral towards Russia like Finland was during the Cold War.

“The question is if one can think of a military arrangement there that would not be confrontational,” he said.

Shultz said that advances in small, smart cheap weapons using nanotechnology and drones “will redefine the battlefield” and could be readily employed by NATO allies.

New tech, old threats

Shultz pointed out that technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and drones are causing massive changes in the economic and political spheres, and will inevitably change warfare.

“What is happening because of these forces is de-globalization. It is already happening. This is not something for the future,” said Shultz. “It is becoming more possible to produce the things you want close to where you are, so the advantages of low labor costs are disappearing.”

Such changes he argued would reduce shipping costs, have an impact on energy, and a major impact on low-cost labor.

“It is a revolution in the economy, and has all sorts of security implications,” Shultz said.

“Robotics, 3D printing and AI are driving manufacturing and causing a big shift from labor to automation. Robot sales are estimated to reach 400,000 in 2018. Collaborative robots (Colbot) assisting human workers will dramatically increase human productivity.”

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Courtesy: RT

Kiribati – A Drowning Paradise in the South Pacific

The island nation of Kiribati in the South Pacific is at risk of disappearing into the sea. Climate change is causing sea levels to rise but the island’s inhabitants aren’t giving up. They are doing what they can to save their island from inundation.

Watch video42:55

Kiribati can hardly be surpassed in terms of charm and natural beauty. There are 33 atolls and one reef island — spread out over an area of 3.5 million square kilometers. All have white, sandy beaches and blue lagoons. Kiribati is the world’s largest state that consists exclusively of atolls. A local resident named Kaboua points to the empty, barren land around him and says, “There used to be a large village here with 70 families.” But these days, this land is only accessible at low tide. At high tide, it’s all under water. Kaboua says that sea levels are rising all the time, and swallowing up the land. That’s why many people here build walls made of stone and driftwood, or sand or rubbish. But these barriers won’t stand up to the increasing number of storm surges. Others are trying to protect against coastal erosion by planting mangrove shrubs or small trees. But another local resident, Vasiti Tebamare, remains optimistic. She works for KiriCAN, an environmental organization. Vasiti says: “The industrialized countries — the United States, China, and Europe — use fossil fuels for their own ends. But what about us?” Kiribati’s government has even bought land on an island in Fiji, so it can evacuate its people in an emergency. But Vasiti and most of the other residents don’t want to leave.

Climate change drives Solomon Islands’ people of the sea ashore

The inhabitants of Lau Lagoon in Solomon Islands have lived in harmony with nature for generations. Now their entire way of life is vanishing beneath the waves.

Dotted across the Lau Lagoon are close to 100 tiny, sun- and salt-bleached islands, topped with scrubby, wind-bent trees and clusters of homes built from timber and palm fronds. Some are home to as few as five people, others as many as 400. But a growing number are deserted.

The Lau Lagoon lies at the northeastern tip of Malaita in the Solomon Islands archipelago in the South Pacific. Unlike the large island of Malaita, the lagoon’s atoll is manmade, built from coral heaved up from the lagoon floor and rising an average of just a meter above the high-tide mark.

Locals say the wane i asi, or people of the sea, first built the islands some 18 generations ago – dating them back to the 17th century – to evade the mosquitoes and disease of the mainland, to be closer to the water that provides them with fish and, some say, to avoid conflict with the wane i tolo, or people of the bush.

Since then, the wane i asi have constantly repaired and rebuilt their islands. But now, a practice they has sustained them for hundreds of years is becoming a losing battle.

Rising tides

Climate change means the sea level is rising, storms are intensifying and seasons are becoming unpredictable. Coral is increasingly torn away from the islands and returned to the lagoon floor. These days, repairing them does little more than delay the inevitable.

Solomon Islands has a population of 560,000 people and a growing number of them are being forced to leave their homes – not just in Lau Lagoon, but also low-lying coastal areas on Malaita, and across the entire atoll, one of the world’s largest.

Solomon Islands - Lau Lagoon (Beni Knight)John Kaia says his community’s way of life is being transformed completely by climate change

It has been more than a decade since the island of Tauba in Lau Lagoon was first submerged completely during a high tide.

Tauba Island’s residents belong to two different tribes. John Kaia is chief of one of them, the Aenabaolo. At 52, Kaia says he has witnessed the impacts of the changing climate over his lifetime.

“Before, we used to know the seasons, but now the wind, the rain, the cyclones can come at any time. We don’t know when.” Kaia says. “Cyclones always used to come when the wind was from the west, now they come even when the wind is from the east.”
Climate change changes everything

In July 2015, Cyclone Raquel became the first cyclone on record to hit the South Pacific Ocean in July. It caught Solomon Islanders by surprise and left many villages devastated.

But for a community that has long lived in harmony with nature, even more subtle climatic changes have profound consequences.

“Climate change has not only affected the weather, it has affected everything, the people, the sea, the land, even the food we eat has changed,” Kaia says. “People’s lives have already changed so much.”

The erratic seasons have forced island farmers to resort to chemical fertilizers, which Kaia believes are “harmful to people’s health.”

Even the children’s education is impacted. The only route to their school on Malaita is by boat – dugout canoes equipped with tatty plastic sails. Kaia says unpredictable weather has made these daily journeys dangerous.

Solomon Islands - Lau Lagoon (Beni Knight)Routine journeys across the lagoon are becoming increasingly perilous

“Storms now can happen any day and come very quickly,” he says. “The children must be very careful while in their canoes, if the wind hits their sails hard the canoe can roll over very easily.”

Competition over land 

All this means is more and more wane i asi are relocating to Malaita. But that comes with its own challenges.

The Aenabaolo share a parcel of land on the mainland with three other tribes. Yet Aenabaolo families relocating from Tauba Island have become embroiled in a land dispute, and construction of their new homes is currently on hold by court order.

And they are not alone. With more and more communities displaced, Solomon Islands’ courts are flooded with such cases. Complicated traditional land tenure structures mean they can take years to resolve.

And tribal differences can exacerbate disputes. Communities with distinct cultural practices are increasingly being forced to live in close proximity. A recent history of ethnic violence makes that a concern in Solomon Islands.

The country suffered five years of conflict between the Isatabu people of its main island of Guadalcanal and Malaitans settling on the island, until international peacekeepers arrived in 2003.

A wrench from home

Some wane i asi, like the 20 permanent residents of the tiny island of Taluabu, have no claim to land on Malaita at all. For generations, Taluabu’s inhabitants have been allowed to farm a parcel of land on the mainland, but landowners have refused them permission to settle there.

Solomon Islands - Lau Lagoon (Beni Knight)For a people used to the waves lapping on their doorsteps, giving up life on the water is a wrench

Over the last year, the issue of relocation has moved up the political agenda in Solomon Islands, but there is still a long way to go before government-led plans to safely rehome entire tribes are put into practice.

In the meantime, NGOs and the Anglican Church of Melanesia have been helping displaced communities find land and start new lives.

Lau Lagoon islanders with secure new homes on Malaita, or in the county’s capital of Honiara on Guadalcanal, are among the lucky ones.

But settling into life on mainland is a wrench for the people of the sea, and few cut ties with their atoll homes altogether. Most families return at least once a year. These days, Tauba’s population swells from around 100 people to upwards of 400 at Christmas.

In late 2016, non-governmental organization Displacement Solutions sent photojournalist Beni Knight to Lau Lagoon on the island of Malaita to document the challenges facing island dwellers in the area. DW publishes the exclusive essay and photos here.

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  • Courtesy, DW

World hunger increases for first time in a decade, topping 800 million in 2016

After steady progress in fighting hunger, the United Nations announced an increase in the number of chronically hungry people for the first time in over 10 years. Some 11 percent of the world’s population is affected.

Two small children eat from bowls of porridge (imago/epd/S. Vogt)

World Hunger is on the rise after years of steady decline, warns a UN report released Friday.

Most of the world’s hungry people are in Asia and Africa, with 520 million and 243 million, respectively. But proportionally Africa is hardest hit, with 20 percent of people not having enough food – in Asia the ratio is 11.7 percent, according to the reported prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization.

Overall, the number of chronically hungry people rose to 815 million, or 11 percent of the world’s population, in 2016. The figure represents an increase of 38 million over the previous year.

It remains to be seen if the change is the start of a new trend or a one-off aberration, but the report attributes the increase to man-made conflicts, a sputtering economy and climate change.

Watch video12:02

East Africa – An end to famine by 2030?

World hunger peaked in 2000 when 900 million people didn’t have enough food. Still, the UN warned the latest figure “is cause for great concern.”

Some 20 million people are at risk of famine in parts of South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria and Yemen where violent conflicts have created much of the food crisis.

But a slowdown in global growth in recent years, which led to a collapse in the prices of numerous commodities, also had a negative impact on the ability of people in many countries to feed themselves, the UN report said.

“Economic slowdowns in countries highly dependent on oil and other primary commodity export revenues have also had an impact on food availability and/or reduced people’s ability to access food,” said the report.

Children in South Sudan await a humanitarian aid distribution in 2015.Children in South Sudan await a humanitarian aid distribution in 2015

Global warming and hunger

The report also points to a link between climate change and conflict.

It “singles out conflict — increasingly compounded by climate change — as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition,” said a joint statement by the UN agencies which drafted the report.

Watch video01:01

Warnings of full-blown famine in Somalia

“The concurrence of conflict and climate-related natural disasters is likely to increase with climate change, as climate change not only magnifies problems of food insecurity and nutrition but can also contribute to a further downward spiral into conflict, protracted crisis and continued fragility,” said the report.

It attributed severe weather, “in part linked to climate change” to the reduced availability of food in many countries

Scientists are hesitant to attribute any one weather event to climate change but there is near unanimity that rising temperatures increase the severity of storms and droughts.

 

bik/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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Why Houston Will Never Be Able to Stop

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The scale of Hurricane Harvey is unprecedented in U.S. history: more than 50 inches of rain falling in less than a week inundating a city of more than 2 million people.

As Houston begins to recover from the torrential storm that inundated the city’s streets, local leaders will need to grapple with the reality that Hurricane Harvey will not be the last devastating flood to strike the city. The problem is rooted in Houston’s geography, and the challenge facing Houston if city officials want to protect against long-term flood risk would test even the savviest urban planners armed with unlimited resources.

The chief issue is that Houston rose in a flat low-lying area with limited natural drainage. Because the land is flat, most storm water collects rather than flowing away from the city, leaving the lowest points vulnerable to flooding. The low elevation not far from Texas’ coast also means that storm surge — which occurs when storm winds push ocean water ashore — can easily inundate the city.

Read More: Why We Won’t Be Ready for the Next Hurricane Harvey Either

The geology beneath the Earth’s surface also creates problems for the city’s developers. Houston is located largely on clay that does not absorb water easily. The region houses wetlands that can absorb some excess water, but human development has destroyed much of it, including some 38,000 acres in the region in the past two decades alone, according to a Houston Chronicle report.

All those issues leave the city in a difficult rebuilding situation, where rebuilding the same way in the same places means accepting that flooding will likely happen again. “The best they’re going to be able to do is to learn to live with flood risk and reduce it somewhat,” says Chad Berginnis, executive director at the Association of State Floodplain Managers “There probably aren’t enough resources or engineering or technology to solve the flooding problem in Houston 100%.”

Some of the potential flooding solutions are efficient investments that will pay clear dividends in the long run. In many communities, that includes elevating buildings, mapping flood plains and instituting stricter zoning restrictions. Other programs that could have a broader effect— think sea walls in Amsterdam or pumps in Miami Beach — come at a staggering cost, but that scale of initiative is what Houston would need to protect more fully against flooding. In Houston, such an initiative would likely also mean undoing some of the development in some of the most vulnerable places.

“The scale of it is absolutely tremendous,” says Jason Evans, a professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson University. “I don’t know how many billions it would cost but I feel confident to say it would be billions, multiple billions.”

Read More: Is Hurricane Harvey Related to Climate Change? Scientists Have a Better Answer

And, even then, planners may struggle to predict with precision how the flooding challenge will evolve in the coming decades, meaning those investments could end up being ineffective in some of the most dire scenarios. At the heart of that uncertainty is the unknown toll of man-made climate change on the severity of storms. Climate scientists say there is a direct link between higher precipitation levels and warmer temperatures and that cities should therefore prepare for bigger storms in coming years. But, at the same time, scientists cannot say exactly how much worse storms will be or how much sea levels will rise.

“You can imagine a situation where you’re just trying to build things higher and higher and higher,” says Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist who runs Dahl Scientific, a consulting group that works on climate change. “We need to focus on whether these are sustainable places to live in the first place.”

Courtesy, Time

Climate change could make South Asia too hot for human survival by 2100

Global warming scientists have warned that heat levels in South Asia, home to some 1.5 billion people, could reach uninhabitable levels by 2100. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh would be the worst affected regions.

Indien Dürre und Ernteausfall (Reuters/S. Pamungkas)

If climate change continues at its current pace, deadly heatwaves could make large parts of South Asia too hot for human survival by the end of the century, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) warned on Wednesday.

“The most intense hazard from extreme future heat waves is concentrated around the densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and Indus river basins,” wrote the authors of the study. Up to 1.5 billion could see their hometowns become impossible to live in.

Read more: Climate change – ‘Asia is paying for the West’s emissions’

Today, around 2 percent of India’s population is exposed to the extreme combinations of heat and humidity analyzed in the study. However, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances, that figure could rise to as much as 70 percent unless major efforts are taken to curb climate-warming carbon emissions.

“Climate change is not an abstract concept, it is impacting huge numbers of vulnerable people,” said MIT professor Elfatih Eltahir. “Business as usual runs the risk of having extremely lethal heat waves.”

‘Wet-bulb temperatures’

Unlike previous climate change and temperature projections, the MIT study also looked at humidity and the body’s ability to cool down, as well as heat levels. The three factors make up what’s called a “wet-bulb temperature,” which is measured by recording the temperature of the air when a wet cloth is wrapped around the thermometer. Climate scientists use this measurement to estimate how easily water can evaporate.

According to climate scientists, humans can survive a wet-bulb temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), while anything beyond could cause the body to have difficulty sweating to cool down. Such a phenomenon could lead to heat stroke or even death within just a few hours.

Putting the research findings into perspective, wet bulb temperatures have so far rarely exceeded the already hazardous level 31 degrees Celsius.

It is hard to imagine conditions that are too hot for people to survive for a more than a few minutes, but that is exactly what is being discussed in this paper,” Chris Field, a Stanford University climate scientist who was not involved in the study, told the Associated Press news agency. “And of course, the danger threshold for punishing heat and humidity is lower for people who are ill or elderly.”

Read more: Global warming is reshaping the world’s forests

South Asia’s densely populated farming are likely to fare the worst; deforestation has left workers particularly exposed to the sun, while the rural surroundings leave little chance of people having access to electricity and air conditioning units.

As recently as 2015, a heat wave across India and Pakistan killed some 3,500 people.

World’s hottest region

The study also predicts that the Gulf could become the world’s hottest region by 2100, due to climate change. However, citizens in the region are significantly better off financially than those in the Ganges and Indus river basins, meaning they will be able to better respond to the risks posed by relentlessly blistering temperatures.

The affected South Asia reasons also rely on crops and livestock, while the oil-rich Gulf region imports almost all of its food.

Less developed medical infrastructure in the rural regions of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh would also see diseases and infections flourish in the in the scorching temperatures, compounding the just how dangerous merely venturing outside could become in the coming decades.

Cause for hope

In the study, scientists also estimated wet-bulb temperatures under the scenario in which concerted action was taken was to limit global warming. Although temperatures would still reach dangerous levels of around 31 degrees Celsius – a level considered dangerous but significantly less fatal – the percentage of South Asia exposed to potentially fatal temperatures would increase from zero to just 2 percent.

Watch video02:33

Protecting the planet – without the US

dm/jr (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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