Scientists have discovered in a new study that 30 percent of the world’s population is likely prone to possibly deadly heat for 20 days per year or more—and, of course, climate change contributes to the issue.
Despite the threat of major reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2, up to three in four people may die due to the heat by 2100. Nevertheless, one in two people by the end of the century are exposed to die due to facing least 20 days of extreme even with reductions according to the analysis, published on Monday in Nature Climate Change.
“Lethal heatwaves are very common. I don’t know why we as a society are not more concerned about the dangers.” says Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the study’s lead author. “The 2003 European heatwave killed approximately 70,000 people—that’s more than 20 times the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks.”
Dangerous heatwaves are spreading across the world, causing the death of people in more than 60 different parts of the world every year. For instance, heatwaves hit Moscow in 2010, killing at least 10,000 people. Likewise, heatwaves hit Chicago in 1995, killing 700 people.
Recently, dozens have died in India and Pakistan, of course, related to heatwaves, with temperatures rising to 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius).
Heat-related deaths not only exists in India and Pakistan where the temperature is expected to be relatively high but also it was widespread in the U.S., killing dozens of people, says Richard Keller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical history.
We are paying the ultimate price of heatwaves
Temperature measurements demonstrate that 92 percent of U.S. cities would become hotter, which was unprecedented since the 1970s. Cities in Texas and the Intermountain West are the most to struck by the heatwave, according to data compiled by ClimateCentral.
“Our attitude towards the environment has been so reckless that we are running out of good choices for the future.” says Mora of the University of Hawaii.
“For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible.” he adds. “Many people around the world are already paying the ultimate price of heatwaves.”