Sunday, September 26

Human-induced global warming ’causes more than a third of heat deaths’ | Climate change


More than a third of all heat-related deaths worldwide between 1991 and 2018 can be attributed to human-induced global warming, according to research.

Weather decay has a variety of effects ranging from wildfires to extreme weather conditions. As temperatures rise, more intense and frequent heat waves disproportionately affect older people and people with underlying chronic conditions such as asthma, making them more vulnerable to illness and premature death.

TO study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, used data from 732 locations in 43 countries to calculate the number of deaths attributed to heat levels above the ideal temperature for human health, which varies by location.

The researchers examined simulated past weather conditions in scenarios with and without human-induced emissions, allowing them to separate warming and human-related health-related impacts from natural trends.

Overall, they found that 37% of all heat-related deaths in the places they studied were attributable to human activity, but the largest climate change-induced contributions (more than 50%) occurred in the south and west of Asia (Iran and Kuwait), South East Asia (Philippines and Thailand), and Central and South America.

These data suggest that the health effects of rapid warming are already being felt even in these relatively early stages of potential catastrophic changes in climate, said study lead author Professor Antonio Gasparrini of the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of London.

“It is a kind of call to action to prevent or try to mitigate the potential effects that, of course, will be much greater in the future as global warming continues. The main message is … you don’t have to wait until 2050 to see increases in heat-related deaths. “

Apart from death, other health problems are associated with high temperatures, such as hospital admissions caused by cardiovascular or respiratory complications. These problems are generally more prevalent and add to rising health care costs, said lead author Dr. Ana Vicedo-Cabrera of the University of Bern. “Mortality … is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The analysis did not cover the whole world; for example, there were not enough empirical data from much of Africa and South Asia to include them.

The study’s conclusions are scientifically sound and alarming, said Dr. Clare Goodess, principal investigator at the University of East Anglia’s school of environmental sciences.

“They tell us that people are already dying on all continents due to increased heat stress caused by human-induced climate change. This highlights the imperative for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is more important than ever that meaningful agreements emerge from [UN climate conference] Cop26 in November “.

Last year, despite a 7% drop in fossil fuel burning due to coronavirus lockdowns, global temperatures were 1.2 ° C above pre-industrial levels. This is uncomfortably close to the 1.5 ° C target set by the world’s nations, beyond which even half a degree is believed to significantly worsen the risks of drought, flooding, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.


www.theguardian.com

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