Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Climate Watch: By 2100, Deadly Heat May Threaten Majority of Humankind - UPDATED

Up to 75 percent of people could face deadly heatwaves by 2100 unless carbon emissions plummet, a new study warns.

A new study has found that 30 percent of the world’s population is currently exposed to potentially deadly heat for 20 days per year or more—and like a growing forest fire, climate change is spreading this extreme heat.

Without major reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2, up to three in four people will face the threat of dying from heat by 2100. However, even with reductions, one in two people at the end of the century will likely face at least 20 days when extreme heat can kill, according to the analysis, published on Monday in Nature Climate Change.

“Lethal heatwaves are very common. I don’t know why we as a society are not more concerned about the dangers,” says Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the study’s lead author. “The 2003 European heatwave killed approximately 70,000 people—that’s more than 20 times the number of people who died in the September 11 attacks.”

Dangerous heatwaves are far more common than anyone realized, killing people in more than 60 different parts of the world every year. Notable deadly heatwaves include the 2010 Moscow event that killed at least 10,000 people and the 1995 Chicago heatwave, where 700 people died of heat-related causes.

Heatwaves have also claimed victims more recently. In the last two weeks, dozens have died in India and Pakistan’s current heatwave, with temperatures spiking to a record 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius). And there have been heat-related deaths already in the U.S. this summer. Read More

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Does your church have a contingency plan for how it is going to respond to heat waves and other natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires that may affect your community? Developing and implementing such a plan is one of a number of ways that Christians can live out the Great Commandment and show that they care about the community in which their church is located. It builds bridges between the church and the community and strengthen the church's positive image in the community.

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