Feeling the Heat

[Content Note: Climate crisis.]

This sobering headline is as blunt as the subject deserves: Climate Change Will Kill Us with Heat If Nothing Is Done to Fix It, Study Says.

Naturally, anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to the increasingly urgent warnings from climate scientists isn't shocked by that headline, but if you're nonetheless horrified by it, you're certainly not alone. The findings of this latest study are dire.
The number of dangerously hot days per year will skyrocket this century if little or nothing is done about climate change, putting millions of Americans at risk.

Those are the findings released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their report, "Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days."

The group says climate change is already manifesting itself in the form of deadlier storms, rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires, and floods, but the heat extremes forecast in their analysis of the rest of the 21st Century shows an intensity of heat that will affect the daily lives of more Americans than ever before.

..."We must act decisively to cut heat-trapping emissions to defend ourselves against a gravely hot future," the group warns. "By cutting emissions quickly and deeply, we can slow global warming and limit the increase in the number of extremely hot days."

When the heat index is above 90, outdoor workers are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Over 100 degrees, children, the elderly, and pregnant women are at risk. Above 105, anyone could be at risk of heat-related illness or death from prolonged exposure, according to the study.

If no action is taken to address climate change, broad swaths of the United States will see extreme heat conditions measured in weeks or months rather than days by the middle of the century, the study found.
There is much more at the link.

Obviously, people who can't afford air conditioning and/or people with illnesses or disabilities that make them more vulnerable to heat, in addition to children and elderly people, will be at higher risk for heat-related death.

Which, I fear, is precisely the point.

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