Climate Change Responsible for 37% of Heat-Related Deaths

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2ND, 2021

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More than one in three heat-related deaths worldwide can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, according to a study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Bern within the Multi-Country Multi-City (MCC) Collaborative Research Network.

In an analysis of almost 30 million deaths in 43 countries, with data from 1991 to 2018, the study found that 37% of the deaths on average were the result of human-induced global warming, with the proportion rising to more than 75% in some places.

The study shows that the level of warming varies across the globe, with some places recording little change from pre-industrial times, while others have seen average temperatures rise by well over 1 degree Celsius. Similarly, the level of mortality due to higher temperatures varies widely. For example, a 31-degree (88 degrees Fahrenheit) day in Chicago -- the 99th percentile of the warm season -- was associated with a 36% increase in mortality risk, according to the study. But a 28-degree day in Berlin (the 99th percentile for that city) raised the risk by 57%.

The results indicate that some of the worst-affected countries are in southern Europe, with Spain, Greece and Italy suffering some of the largest increases in heat-related mortality due to climate change. Other regions hit hard include Iran and Kuwait, Thailand and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, and several countries in Central and South America.

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