A team of researchers have warned that more deaths could occur in different parts of the world due to extreme temperatures. To prevent this, they called on governments, global agencies and organisations to collaborate toward keeping global temperatures in check by meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
According to sciencedaily.com, the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, binds nations to hold warming well below 2 degrees Celsius in global mean temperature, relative to pre-industrial levels. It also urges countries to make additional efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
The study, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, evaluated global temperature-related health impacts under scenarios consistent with the Agreement.
The study authors assessed the mortality impact projected for a range of temperature increases, either compatible with the thresholds set in Paris (1.5°C and 2°C) or higher (3°C and 4°C). These projections took into account how an increase in heat-related deaths might be offset against a decrease in deaths due to cold, as global temperatures rise.
The researchers also analysed historical data on temperature-related deaths from 451 locations in 23 countries with different socio-economic and climatic conditions. They then projected changes in mortality under climate scenarios consistent with the various increases in global temperature, while keeping demographic distributions and temperature-health risks constant.
The results showed dramatic increases of heat-related deaths under extreme warming (3°C and 4°C) compared to the mildest threshold (1.5°C), with additional excess mortality ranging from +0.73 per cent to +8.86 per cent across all regions.
The first author of the study , Prof Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera said, “Our projections suggest that large increases in temperature-related deaths could be limited in most regions if warming was kept below 2°C.
“Under extreme changes in climate, large parts of the world could experience a dramatic increase in excess mortality due to heat. This would not be balanced by decreases in cold-related deaths. Efforts to limit the increase in global temperature to below 1.5°C could provide additional benefits in tropical or arid regions, including the most populous and often poorest countries,” she said.
Also, the co-author of the study, Dr Antonio Gasparrini, said, “We hope that the results will help convince nations to take decisive actions by implementing ambitious climate policies consistent with the Paris Agreement in an effort to save lives. Currently, we are on a trajectory to reach over 3°C of warming, and if this trend continues there would be serious consequences for health in many parts of the world.”