New study blames one in three heat-related deaths on global warming

Shane McGlaun - Jun 1, 2021, 7:53am CDT
New study blames one in three heat-related deaths on global warming

A new study has been published that looked at data between 1991 and 2018. According to the study, more than a third of all deaths where heat played a role are attributable to global warming induced by humans. The study is reportedly the largest of its kind and was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bern with help from other organizations.

The study used data from 732 locations across 43 countries worldwide to show for the first time the actual contribution man-made climate change plays in increasing mortality risks due to heat. Estimates show 37 percent of all heat-related deaths in recent summer periods are attributable to global warming due to anthropogenic activities.

Heat-related deaths attributed to climate change are the most significant in Central and South America. The researchers claim that up to 76 percent of heat-related deaths are attributable to climate change in Ecuador and Columbia. In southeast Asia, between 48 percent and 61 percent of heat-related deaths are attributed to global warming.

Researchers on the project also broke down the number of deaths attributed to human-induced climate change in specific cities. For instance, in Santiago de Chile, 136 additional deaths per year are attributed to global warming. In Rome, 172 deaths are attributed to global warming, 82 in London, and 141 in New York. The researchers say the study’s findings are further evidence that we need to adopt strong mitigation policies to reduce future warming.

The researchers also calling for new interventions to be implemented to protect populations from the adverse consequences of heat exposure. The study focused on human-induced global warming through a “detection & attribution” study that identifies and attributes observed phenomena to changes in climate and weather. The team admits the impact of human-induced climate change on heat-related deaths varies substantially across regions.


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