Study: Climate change-related heat waves could kill thousands in cities

New research suggests that thousands could die from heat waves in major U.S. cities if swift action isn’t taken to curb rising global temperatures.

Researchers estimated the number of heat-related deaths that might occur in 15 U.S. cities under various climate scenarios, according to a June 16, 2019 NBC News article.

Under one scenario, with the world’s nations doing only the bare minimum to curb greenhouse gases, the global average temperature is predicted to jump by 3 degrees Celsius. If this happens, and there is a once-in-a-generation heat wave, 20,000 people across 15 cities—including almost 6,000 people in New York City, more than 2,500 in Los Angeles, and more than 2,300 in Miami—could die, the study found.

Aaron Bernstein, co-director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), praised the study, which he was not involved in, for estimating preventable heat-related deaths city by city. He called the study “a much more sophisticated and accurate way to look at the question” than by relying solely on national data.

Bernstein added that heat waves could result not only in deaths but in many thousands of other non-fatal injuries. “There are a lot of things that are bad for people that aren’t death,” he said.

Read the NBC News story: Without swift action on climate change, heat waves could kill thousands in U.S. cities

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How ‘heat islands’ can harm health (Harvard Chan School news)