A study published in June, 2019 in Science Advances magazine shares just how deadly extreme heat events could get if we don’t hit the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global temperature increases. These “extreme heat events” would become deadlier with each increased degree of temperature and would affect populations in major cities.
Climate change is expected to increase the heat of the planet, and therefore heat-related mortality with it. As it relates to “heat-related mortality,” the study found that keeping the 2°C would avoid up to 1980 heat related deaths each year. A 1.5°C threshold would avoid up to 2720 deaths related to extreme heat.
The study looked at 15 cities across the United States. According to the study, regional changes can often bring greater temperature extremes than global temperatures. Multiple cities, including Boston, Phoenix, St. Louis and Houston, have already experienced increased warming trends of up to 2.4°C a decade since the 1970s.
This research shows heat-related mortality will increase in the coming decades alongside global warming. Climate scientist and study author Eunice Lo said that limiting warming to 1.5°C “makes a huge difference in terms of human lives across cities. Immediate and drastic emission cuts would be substantially beneficial to public health.”
Public health and climate change are inextricably linked. A study published in summer 2019 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) looked at climate-change events in 10 states and how they related to health. Forest fires, extreme heat and other climate changes all affect public health.
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