According to research published this week in The Lancet, more than 356,000 people died in 2019 as a result of excessive heat, and that number is expected to rise.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Global Burden of Disease assessment discovered that, while cold temperatures continue to cause a higher number of fatalities, mortality rates related to heat are increasing faster, particularly in hotter parts of the world.
The conclusions are similar to those of another research, a two-part series titled “Heat and Health,” which was also published this week in The Lancet. It asks for global warming to be reduced to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, in accordance with the Paris Climate Accords, in order to prevent future heat-related deaths. Otherwise, fatalities would rise further, and excessive heat will reduce worker productivity and worsen other environmental issues such as wildfires, according to experts.
High temperatures have been related to higher hospitalizations and mental health concerns, in addition to causing heatstroke. Older persons and other disadvantaged populations, such as those with limited mobility, are more vulnerable. High temperatures can also have a negative impact on productivity. Around 1 billion employees, many of whom are involved in physical labor, frequently report decreased production owing to heat stress.
Even with measures to halt climate change and cut carbon emissions, ecologically friendly modifications are required to adapt to a world that is becoming increasingly heated. Measures that may be taken to reduce the worst impacts of heat on health include increasing the quantity of green space in cities, installing heat-reflective wall coatings on buildings, and employing more cooling and misting fans. While air conditioning is getting more affordable, it is not for everyone and can be harmful to the environment.
“With more than half of the world population expected to be exposed to weeks of hazardous heat every year by the end of this century,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington and co-lead author of the Heat and Health research.
(Source- Business Standard)