According to a new study, one-third of all deaths involving heat in the past 30 years are due to man-made global warming.
Data from 737 locations in 42 countries were used by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to estimate the impact of global warming on heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018.
Researchers found that 37 percent of all heat-related deaths in the past summer periods could be directly related to human-induced global warming.
They found that this figure varied considerably depending on the city’s economic strength and how vulnerable the population was to disease and heat.
The rate of heat-related deaths from man-made climate change was highest in Central and South America, up to 76 percent in Ecuador or Colombia, and the second highest in Southeast Asia, ranging from 48 to 61 percent
The study’s authors say countries responsible for a small fraction of past emissions caused by humans were most affected in terms of heat-related deaths.
According to a new study, one-third of all deaths involving heat in the past 30 years are due to man-made global warming. Stock image
Data from 737 locations in 42 countries were used by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to estimate the impact of global warming on heat-related deaths in one form or another between 1991 and 2018.
DIFFERENT AREAS THAT ARE DIFFERENTLY AFFECTED
Overall, the estimates show that 37 percent of all heat-related deaths in recent summer periods were attributable to global warming as a result of human activities.
This percentage was highest in Central and South America and Southeast Asia.
Estimates also show the number of deaths from man-made climate change in specific cities:
136 additional deaths per year in Santiago de Chile (44.3 percent)
- 189 in Athens (26.1 percent)
- 172 in Rome (32 percent)
- 156 in Tokyo (35.6 percent)
- 177 in Madrid (31.9 percent)
- 146 in Bangkok (53.4 percent)
- 82 in London (33.6 percent)
- 141 in New York (44.2 percent)
- 137 in Ho Chi Minh City (48.5 percent)
The authors say their findings are further evidence of the need to implement strong mitigation policies to reduce future warming.
They say we must take steps to protect the population from the adverse effects of heat exposure.
In addition to taking a global average, the team, including experts from the University of Bern, estimated the deaths from climate change in specific cities.
They found that in London, 35 percent of the city’s heat-related deaths during that period were directly related to climate change, rising to 44.2 percent for New York.
In the UK, an average of 35 percent of heat-related deaths each summer can be attributed to man-made climate change.
This equates to around 82 deaths in London each season, 16 deaths in Manchester, 20 in the West Midlands or four in Bristol and Liverpool.
The study’s authors say their findings demonstrate for the first time the “ actual contribution of human-caused climate change to increasing heat death risks. ”
Three of the worst hit cities were Santiago in Chile at 44.3 percent, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam at 48.5 percent, and Bangkok in Thailand at 53.4 percent.
The findings are based on simulations of climate, with and without human-caused emissions, allowing the team to estimate the total impact.
The authors say the study is evidence of the need to pursue strong mitigation policies to reduce future warming, adding that it is also an argument for the implementation of interventions to protect against the effects of heat exposure.
Dr. Ana Vicedo-Cabrera, from the University of Bern and lead author of the study, said they expect the share of heat-related deaths to continue to grow ‘if we don’t do anything about climate change or adapt.’
“So far, the average temperature on Earth has only risen by about 1C (1.8F), which is a fraction of what we might encounter if emissions continue to grow uncontrolled.”
They focused on man-made global warming through the detection and attribution of phenomena that can change climate and weather.
Researchers examined weather conditions from the past, simulated in scenarios with and without emissions caused by human activity.
This allowed them to separate global warming and related health effects associated with human activities from natural trends.
In the study, heat-related mortality was defined as the number of heat-related deaths occurring at exposures above the optimal human health temperature, which varies by location.
Researchers found that 37 percent of all heat-related deaths in the past summer periods could be directly related to human-induced global warming. Stock image
The team found that while on average more than a third of heat-related deaths are due to human-induced climate change, the impact varied significantly.
Climate-related heat victims ranged from a few dozen to several hundred deaths per year per city, depending on the local climate changes in each area.
The other important factor was the vulnerability of the population in a single city.
The researchers found that people in low- and middle-income countries were most affected by climate change.
The rate of heat-related deaths from man-made climate change was highest in Central and South America, up to 76 percent in Ecuador or Colombia, and the second highest in Southeast Asia, ranging from 48 to 61 percent. Stock image
Professor Antonio Gasparrini of LSHTM, senior author of the study and coordinator of the MCC Network, said: “This is the largest detection and attribution study into the current health risks of climate change.
The message is clear: not only will climate change have devastating consequences in the future, but every continent is already experiencing the dire consequences of human activities on our planet. We must act now. ‘
The authors note a number of limitations of the study, including the inability to include locations in all regions of the world, for example, large parts of Africa and South Asia, due to a lack of empirical data.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Climate change.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals in terms of reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the global average temperature rise well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels
2) Strive to limit the rise to 1.5 ° C as this would significantly reduce the risks and consequences of climate change
3) Governments agreed that global emissions should peak as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries
4) Make rapid reductions afterwards in accordance with the best available science