Study Warns Of Death Toll Under Hotter Global Warming Scenarios

Published: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 5:05am
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Union of Concerned Scientists
The number of heat-related deaths per 100,000 people in an extremely hot year in a 3°C warmer world, and the number of deaths per 100,000 people that could be avoided in a 1.5°C or 2°C world in 15 U.S. cities.

Scientists said governments must halt global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid disaster.

But current emissions targets submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Paris Agreement could cause warming of 2-3 degrees C by end of century.

Now, a new study in the journal "Science Advances" projects the difference a degree could make.

Researchers used established epidemiological studies to model how higher temperatures might affect heat-related deaths in 15 major cities during extreme heat waves.

The extra 1.0-1.5 degrees Celsius would cause 110-2,700 additional deaths and generally affect northern cities more strongly than southern ones.

Phoenix was among the least affected; St. Louis showed the largest difference.

Co-author Kristie Ebi of University of Washington hopes the study shows the benefits of reduction and helps people prepare for what might come.

"We're going to have an overall shift in the distribution of temperatures with a particularly marked increase in the number of really hot days," she said.

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