Thousands of deaths expected across America due to increasing heat this century

פורסם: 1 ביוני 2012, 12:42 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 1 ביוני 2012, 12:42 ]
 , Solutions Analyst, 30 May 2012
This year, Americans have experienced the warmest spring on record , and as we enter summer we’re continuing to see record-high temperatures all across the country. The records have been falling faster than we can blog about it. If you’ve been following our posts, you know a changing climate is likely to affect everything from mental health to allergies. But the evidence is even stronger regarding the direct health impacts of heat, which can cause cramps, swelling, fainting, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and can increase chances of death from heart attacks, respiratory illnesses and strokes. In fact, extreme heat is one of the number-one weather-related killers in the U.S. already!

The scale of this threat has been reinforced by a recent scientific study that warns of over 150,000 extra deaths in America between now and 2100 due to climate change (on average that’s 1,704 for each of the 92 remaining years this century). This research, which highlights findings of heat-related mortality due to climate change in the 40 largest U.S. cities, has been showcased in NRDC’s eye-opening new report, Killer Summer Heat. (PDF)

The report has startling figures for projected heat-related deaths in 40 major cities in the United States by the year 2100. 18,988 people may die in Louisville, Kentucky, 17,877 in Detroit, and 16,625 in Cleveland (the three cities with the highest tolls). But no matter where you live, you and everyone you know is at risk because the heat spares no one. Some populations, of course, are especially vulnerable. This includes elderly people, children, and those whose occupations require them to be outdoors braving the heat such as farmers, construction workers and athletes.

Roughly 1,700 deaths a year may not sound like a high enough number to care about …, that is until someone you or I know dies prematurely because of rising temperatures. And we know America takes similar numbers seriously. After all, we have vast research budgets to study and potentially prevent cancers of the mouth, thyroid, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which kill 1,790, 1,780, and 1,190 people a year respectively (PDF). So isn’t it about time we took a stand against heat related illness and deaths that are on the rise because of climate change?

What do you think we should do as citizens to make the government take climate change and its health impacts seriously? We’d love to hear your thoughts.