'Much of South Asia could be too hot to live in'

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TORONTO: Climate change could make much of South Asia - home to a fifth of the world's population - too hot for human survival by the end of this century, scientists warned on Wednesday.

If climate change continues at its current pace, deadly heatwaves beginning in the next few decades will strike parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to a study based on computer simulations by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Key agricultural areas in the Indus and Ganges river basins will be particularly hard-hit, reducing crop yields and increasing hunger in some of the world's most densely populated regions, researchers said.

The areas likely to be worst affected in northern India, southern Pakistan and Bangladesh are home to 1.5 billion people, said Elfatih Eltahir, an MIT professor and the study's co-author.

Currently, about 2 per cent of India's population is sometimes exposed to extreme combinations of heat and humidity. By 2100, that will increase to about 70 per cent if nothing is done to mitigate climate change, the study said. - REUTERS