Global warming may cause more deaths than infectious diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria
Scientists fear the rapidly heating planet will lead to an alarming rise in premature deaths by the end of the century.
A recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research predicts that health effects linked to rising temperatures may boost the global mortality rate by 73 deaths per 100,000 people if current climate trends stay the same. That rise is comparable to the current mortality rate of all infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, dengue, and yellow fever.
“A lot of older people die due to indirect heat affects,” Amir Jina, an environmental economist at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the study, told The Guardian. “It’s eerily similar to Covid – vulnerable people are those who have pre-existing or underlying conditions. If you have a heart problem and are hammered for days by the heat, you are going to be pushed towards collapse.”
“The richer countries, even if they have increases in mortality, can pay more to adapt to it. It’s really the people who have done the least to cause climate change who are suffering from it,” he added.
While cooler countries like Canada and Norway are safe from the torrid heat, tropical and poorer countries such as Ghana, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sudan are expected to see a mortality rate of around 200 deaths per 100,000 people.
However, experts believe that the damage is likely to be less extensive in regions which have been experiencing blazing temperatures for a few years now.
“A really hot day in Seattle is more damaging than a really hot day in Houston because air conditioning and other measures are less widespread there,” Bob Kopp, a co-author and climate scientist at Rutgers University told The Guardian.