WASHINGTON, D.C – More than 150,000 additional Americans could die by the end of this century due to excessive heat caused by climate change, according to a detailed analysis of peer-reviewed scientific data by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The “Killer Summer Heat” report, projects heat-related death toll through the end of the 21st century in the most populated U.S. cities.
The projected deaths are based on the widely-used assumption that carbon pollution will steadily increase in the absence of effective new policies, more than doubling the levels seen today by the end of the century.
“This is a wake-up call. Climate change has a number of real life-and-death consequences. One of which is that as carbon pollution continues to grow, climate change is only going to increase the number of dangerously hot days each summer, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost,” said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s climate and clean air program.
Temperatures in San Joaquin County rose above 100 degrees last week. County public health officials urge residents to take precautions for hot weather.
“Groups especially at risk for heat stress are the elderly, adults with disabilities, chronically ill, children under 4 years old and anyone who works or exercises vigorously outdoors,” said San Joaquin County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Furst.
The kinds of consequences of climate change highlighted in NRDC’s report are already evident:
A tall, brown-haired, soft-eyed woman sits back and laughs. On her office desk is a portrait of the Dalia Lama pasted next to Queen Elizabeth, and behind her desk hangs a green t-shirt that states, “Got Asthma?” It shows the lungs of a healthy child and the lungs of one in five children living in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most polluted places in the country. Betsy Reifsnider’s unassuming cubicle looks like many in the environmental activist realm, but she is working for the Catholic Church, specifically Stockton’s Diocese–and she is in the lead. As part of a growing national movement pairing ecology with faith, Reifsnider has the only paid Catholic environmental advocacy position in the nation. Continue reading