Climate change could be responsible for 37% of global heat deaths
Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Jul 2021
While around one third of heat-related deaths can be attributed to climate chvange, there have been no systematic efforts to quantify the heat-related human health impacts that have already occurred due to climate change.
A new research paper ‘The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change’ published in the journal Nature Climate Change in May 2021 uses empirical data from 732 locations in 43 countries to estimate the mortality burdens associated with the additional heat exposure that has resulted from recent human-induced warming during the period 1991–2018.
The researchers across all study countries found that 37% (range 20.5-76.3%) of warm-season heat-related deaths can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change and that increased mortality is evident on every continent.
The research revealed that the highest percentages of heat deaths caused by climate change were in cities in South America. Sao Paulo, Brazil, has the most climate-related heat deaths, averaging 239 a year. The research team said southern Europe and southern Asia are the other hot spots for climate change-related heat deaths.
Scientists said the heat deaths are only a sliver of climate’s overall toll — even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought — and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures. M