November 14, 2017 00:30 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Global warming could see death rates increase

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at the potential temperature-related health impacts of climate change (stock image).

With global temperatures continuing to rise, scientists have warned that we could soon see a surge in death rates during hot weather.

Researchers compared heat and cold-related deaths across 451 locations around the world, and found that warmer regions of the planet will be particularly affected.

Their findings suggest that if no action is taken by 2090, death rates in South-East Asia will increase by 12.7 per cent, while rates in Southern Europe will rise by 6.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, death rates in colder countries are expected to stay the same or even decrease, as cold-related deaths decline.

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With global temperatures continuing to rise, scientists have warned that we could soon see a surge in death rates during hot weather (stock image) 

With global temperatures continuing to rise, scientists have warned that we could soon see a surge in death rates during hot weather (stock image) 

HOW INCREASING TEMPERATURE WILL AFFECT DEATH RATES 

In the study, the researchers used real data from 85 million deaths from 1984 to 2015, taking into account different climates, socioeconomics and demographics.

This allowed them estimate how temperature-related mortality rates will change under alternative scenarios of climate change.

Under the worst-case scenario, which assumes that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century, the model suggests that there could be extremely large increases in mortality in the warmer regions of the world.

Under the best-case scenario, which assumes an early peak of greenhouse gas emissions which then decline, the potential increases in mortality rates would be minimal.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at the potential temperature-related health impacts of climate change.

Their analysis suggests that cooler regions such as Northern Europe are unlikely to experience any change in death rates, but that warmer regions could see catastrophic increases.

Dr Antonio Gasparrini, lead author of the study, said: 'Climate change is now widely recognised as the biggest global threat of the 21st century.

'Although previous studies have shown a potential rise in heat-related mortality, little was known about the extent to which this increase would be balanced by a reduction in cold-related deaths.

'In addition, effects tend to vary across regions, depending on local climate and other characteristics, making global comparisons very difficult.

'This study demonstrates the negative impact of climate change, which may be more dramatic among the warmer and more populated areas of the planet, and in some cases disproportionately affect poorer regions of the world.'

Thankfully, the researchers suggest that these deaths could largely be avoided if mitigation strategies are implemented to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Dr Gasparrini added: 'The good news is that if we take action to reduce global warming, for instance by complying with the thresholds set by the Paris Agreement, this impact will be much lower.'

In the study, the researchers used real data from 85 million deaths from 1984 to 2015, taking into account different climates, socioeconomics and demographics.

In the study, the researchers used real data from 85 million deaths from 1984 to 2015, taking into account different climates, socioeconomics and demographics. Pictured are the countries included in the study

In the study, the researchers used real data from 85 million deaths from 1984 to 2015, taking into account different climates, socioeconomics and demographics. Pictured are the countries included in the study

KEY GOALS OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:

1)  A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels

2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change

3) Goverments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries

4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science

Source: European Commission 

This allowed them estimate how temperature-related mortality rates will change under alternative scenarios of climate change.

Under the worst-case scenario, which assumes that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century, the model suggests that there could be extremely large increases in mortality in the warmer regions of the world.

But in cooler areas, the less intense warming and large decrease in cold-related deaths may mean no change or even a small reduction in temperature-related deaths.

Under the best-case scenario, which assumes an early peak of greenhouse gas emissions which then decline, the potential changes in mortality rates would be minimal.

This highlights the benefits of the implementation of mitigation policies, according to the researchers.

Sir Andy Haines, co-author of the study, said: 'This paper shows how heat related deaths will escalate in the absence of decisive action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants such as methane and black carbon.

'Such action could also result in major health benefits in the near term by reducing deaths from air pollution.

'It is imperative that the actions are taken to build on the achievements of the Paris Treaty as the commitments made there are insufficient to prevent warming above 2 degrees C compared with pre-industrial temperatures.'

 

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