Climate Change Will Bring 50-Fold Rise in Europe Weather-related Deaths

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 5, 2017

Extreme weather could kill up to 152,000 people each year in Europe by 2100 if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change, scientists say.

Their findings predicted that heat waves would be the most lethal weather disasters, causing 99 percent of all future weather-related deaths in Europe.

Heatwaves can be responsible for the death of over 150,000 people a year in Europe up to the end of this century, marking a 50-fold increase in climate-related deaths in the continent compared to that of the last three decades, a new study says. The researchers said deaths from coastal flooding would also increase sharply, from six deaths per year at the beginning of this century to 233 a year by the end of it.

Southern Europe, now experiencing a heatwave with temperatures in the high 40s, is most at risk.

The research analysed the effects of the seven most unsafe types of weather-related events - heat waves, cold snaps, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods and windstorms - in the 28 European Union countries as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

Northern countries, including the United Kingdom, appear a bit safer, with three weather-related deaths for every million people predicted. They looked at records of weather-related events in those countries for a 30-year stretch and compared them with projections for population growth and future weather disasters.

The study predicts this region could see 700 deaths per million people due to extreme weather events by the end of the century.

Climate change accounted for 90% of the increased risk from weather disasters, with population growth, migration and urbanisation responsible for 10%, the research showed.

The forecast reflects what is likely to happen if there is no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and nothing done to improve protection against extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The Paris Agreement, concluded by 195 nations in 2015, seeks to limit warming to under 2 C from levels before the Industrial Revolution, when fossil fuel burning kicked off.

"People are known to adapt and become less vulnerable than previously to extreme weather conditions because of advances in medical technology, air conditioning and thermal insulation in houses", they wrote in a comment carried by the journal.

Paul Wilkinson, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "While the analysis only considered extreme events, and assumed no reduction in human vulnerability over time from adaptation, it is yet another reminder of the exposures to extreme weather and possible human impacts that might occur if emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated".

Altre relazioni OverNewsmagazine

Discuti questo articolo