Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fresh data links climate change to heat-related deaths Climate change is already causing a significant increase in heat-related deaths, according to a newly-released report – and the situation is set to worsen. Yet insurers are still not acknowledging the problem in their life expectancy calculations. The report, Climate Change and Extreme Heat Events, is published in the November edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. It outlines a 20 per cent increase in significant heat events between 1949 and 1995, arguing that the effects of climate change may already be to blame.

"Analyses of US climate change scenarios through General Circulation Models (GCMs) project that, for the period 2080 to 2099, Chicago will experience a 25 per cent increase in the number of heatwaves, and the number of annual heatwave days in Los Angeles, for the 2070 to 2099 time period, will increase from 12 to 44-95," the report claimed. It predicted that annual summer deaths could increase from 1,840 to between 1,981 and 4,100 depending on the the model used, adding that "by 2050 up to 3,190-4,748 excess deaths will occur each summer".

The findings have potentially huge implications for the business community which will have to adapt premises to cope with hotter summers. It is not implausible that heavy polluters could find themselves open to litigation arising from climate change-related deaths. However, while it is the health insurance sector that is most likely to be directly impacted by the phenomenon, little is being done to prepare for more frequent heat waves…..

2003 heat wave temperature variations in comparison to normal temperatures in Europe. Chart by NASA

No comments: