NRDC Report Predicts 150,000 Heat-Related Deaths Due To Climate Change

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Chances are, if you're already concerned about being off'ed by climate change, it's probably because you imagine being swept away by a super-charged hurricane, drowned by rising sea levels, starved because of drought-induced crop failure, or set aflame by roaring wildfires. But as it turns out, your risk of perishing by the titans of extreme weather may be a ways off - because the heat may get to you first.

If you didn't already know, heat is actually the number one killer amongst its weather-related brethren, causing more fatalities than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined, according to NOAA.

A new report released this week by the NRDC, “Killer Summer Heat: Projected Death Toll from Rising Temperatures in America Due to Climate Change” [PDF], estimates that 150,000 people could die because of heat-related deaths, with numbers increasing over the century as climate change continues to crank up the temperatures. And, predictably so, communities' ability to cope with the ordeal will depend on our efforts to reduce carbon pollution and employ life-saving adaptive measures.

Cities harbor the majority of the population and are more prone to heat-related problems. The concrete jungles absorb and retain more heat than rural areas (not to mention the concentration of millions of sweaty people in a small area) can also contribute to local temperatures. Furthermore, other factors such as green space and urban structuring (eg row housing vs. high rises) can have an impact as well.

Taking all these factors into account, many cities in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast have higher risks of steam-cooking their populations. Cities in these areas have variable summer climates - it's not uncommon for a hot streak of consecutive 100-degree days to pop up amidst averages of 80s. To the most vulnerable of the population- including the elderly, obese, and children - these 20-degree rises can prove deadly.

More temperature-stabilized regions, like Miami or Arizona, don't experience the same risk because people living there are accustomed to sweltering environments and generally have access to protection (such as air-conditioning).

However, cities can vastly reduce the number of deaths if they take preventative measures. The studies show that access to cooling centers, checking in on vulnerable citizens, and increasing the capacity of emergency room and ambulance medical technicians are highly effective.

Even so, the authors of the report call the predictions “conservative.” They didn't take into account growing population, especially baby boomers, who would likely fall under the “most vulnerable” category.

Additionally, statistics on heat-related deaths in the past may also be conservative because medical examiners generally only label a death as “heat-related” if the body temperature is over 104 degrees. They can't necessarily label respiratory ailments or heart attacks as heat-related, despite the fact that more people die of those conditions during extreme heat events, leaving the threat of heat understated.

Photo by Rosa Merk - WWF

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I’m the opposite here. I’m in the sub tropics. Summers have not got much hotter, but there is always high humidity. The southern states get much higher summer temps and often heat waves, as they have different air flow. Our winters have got progressively warmer though.

The air con gets about 8 weeks of usage in summer, but in winter, its around 3-4 weeks of usage. Lows are about 9 degrees C (48F). My place is very well insulated.


Do you all remember the claims that there would be “50 million Climate refugees by 2010”??

Oh, yeah……

There have been to many radical statements such as these which causes them to go in one ear and out the other of the general public.

I never heard it before in my life.

Where did you hear that.  Please provide a link.   (Or we’ll just assume you’re lying again.)

“In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.”

Links below; the ‘map’ and text they published has since been removed because of the (obviously) outrageous claims never became a reality.

I’ve provided a link to the original map that was saved, for posterity, by Climate realists.

And you wonder why Climate Communication has failed!

Here’s some more saps for you to go after….!

That’s right… The Pentagon…  Must be Green Freaks…  Right Chas?  That’s what you’re trying to imply, right?  This as you demand religeous levels of accuracy from anyone working with climate science while at the same time accepting total fraud, lies, and outright theft from your own.

That’s what you’re trying to convince me to do, right?

I would remind you that my experience with climate science comes from the military.  And they weren’t studying climate.

Far be it from me to disuade you from trusting your high school graduate, Anthony Watts.

Well, well, who could have guessed that Rasper cites misinformation. Why don’t you go and read the actual paper and you will see that your quote, taken from a denier site I bet, misrepresents what Norman Myres actually said?

Here is a link to the actual report, I bet you wont read it and report back what Myres actually  said in the report because that will show up your sloppy reporting. Typical of deniers however.

I’m sure honest and intelligent readers of this thread will quickly see your misrepresentation of Myres’ work.

The real report is a much more sober document and discusses facts about what the refugees are, and likely where they are going.  Many are simply being driven into cities.

The stuff Chas quotes inflates the problem to the point that you wonder what rock 50,000,000 people are suddenly hid under.  Meanwhile the report says that in Mexico environmental refugees in Mexico are driven to cities which are in turn driving more immigrants to the US.  This is exactly what the report says.  (I know Chas… you think the economist a bunch of left wing greens.)

I thought the topic of soil erosion was also interesting…

Look what happened in Pakistan alone.  (I know Chas.. you think Nasa is less reputable than your high school graduate. Anthony Watts)

Massive flooding has occurred in the Indus River basin, leaving millions of people homeless and dependent on aid shipments for sustenance.

Oh yes.. and as the report says governments will act to tighten immigration from these people.  Just like Canada is doing right now.  More workers, less refugees.

Throwing the dogs a bone… I have to agree that its hard to tell the difference from one refugee and another.  More importantly, ‘why’ may be pretty blurry.