Heat-related deaths could increase 5-fold as the world approaches unrecoverable climate, researchers warn
Increasing global temperature:
2023 is the hottest year on record. All the indices, including the maximum temperature up to 2022, have been broken at a level not seen in the last one lakh years. However, a Lancet report on health and climate change has highlighted the potential threats to climate change mitigation measures that are delayed further.
"Casualties to increase by 370%"
According to the Lancet paper, the world is on track for a warming of two degrees Celsius by the end of this century, which is currently on track for 2.7C. people around the world spent an average of 86 days exposed to life-threatening temperatures last year. About 60 percent of those days are more likely to double due to climate change. From 1991-2000 to 2013-2022, the number of people over 65 who died due to heat increased by 85 percent. Continued climate change is predicted to increase the number of heat deaths by 4.7 times or 370 percent by 2050 by mid-century.
"People are likely to starve"
About 520 million people will face moderate or severe food insecurity by mid-century due to more common droughts. This causes severe nutritional deficiency. Mosquitoes are more prevalent than ever. Infectious diseases will increase. In particular, the incidence of dengue will increase up to 36 percent. As a result, health systems will struggle to cope with the workload, they have warned. In addition, it has been warned that the working hours of the workers may be reduced by 50 percent due to the increase in heat.
A warning from the researchers:
Continued use of fossil fuels and governments investing in them. The researchers termed the action by the companies and banks as "reckless". Thus, the challenges and costs rise, and the world moves closer to irreversible harm. Without deep and swift action to tackle the root causes of climate change, humanity's health is at grave risk, they warned. A zero carbon emission status should be forced on the global economy as an urgent health measure. At the same time, opportunities for change can improve the health of the world's population through safe drinking water, healthy diets and lifestyles, improved energy access, security, and clean air, the Lancet report suggests.