If we do not urgently reduce our global CO2 emissions, rising temperatures will cause more deaths than all infectious diseases combined. This is predicted by a recently published study.
Warm, poorer parts of the world in particular will find it difficult to adapt to the rising temperature. The heat will create excruciating conditions and will result in many deaths. According to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
If little is done about global warming, global mortality will rise by the end of the century by 73 deaths per 100,000 people. That number corresponds to the current mortality rate of all infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV / AIDS and malaria, combined.
Rich countries will also be affected by the climate crisis. They will especially feel it in their wallet.
Indirect effects of heat
The researchers used a huge global dataset of death and temperature data. They looked for possible connections between the two, not only looking at direct causes such as heat stroke. It may also be the case that someone has multiple heart attacks during a heat wave and later succumbs to their consequences.
“Many older people are dying from the indirect effects of heat,” said Amir Jina, an environmental economist at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study. It is eerily similar to Covid-19; people with pre-existing conditions are a vulnerable group. If you have a heart problem and you have to deal with extreme heat for days, you will collapse more easily. ”
“You see the worst effects of heat in the tropics,” says Jina. “There is nothing like one global consequence. People with fewer resources face many changes and have more difficulty adjusting. While richer countries also see a higher death rate than before, but they have the money to adapt better. It is really the people who have caused the least global warming who are now suffering from it. ”
Huge heat waves have ravaged the U.S., Europe, Australia, India, and the Arctic in recent years. In addition, 2020 can be the hottest year ever. The consequences of this rise in temperature have been very clear in recent years, such as the 1,500 people who died in France from the effects of the heat in the summer of last year.
But the researchers also see a difference between richer countries. Rich countries and areas in a warm climate have an edge over rich areas that are exposed to extreme heat for the first time. “A very hot day in Seattle will do more damage than a very hot day in Houston because fewer measures like air conditioning are taken in Seattle,” said researcher Bob Kopp.
“It’s not going to be free for Seattle to get Houston’s adaptability. But in other countries, the situation is clearly still much worse. Climate change is a problem for public health and global equality. ”