Heat-related Deaths to Soar Nearly 400% by 2050 – Report

A new report says heat-related deaths will increase 370 percent by 2050 if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, as predicted. 

The findings were part of a report published Wednesday in the medical journal Lancet’s annual assessment, known as the Coundown, on the effects of climate change on public health.  

The Countdown found that the number of heat-related deaths among people aged 65 and older has risen 85% over the last decade compared to the years between 1991 and 2000.  The study found that people around the world were exposed to an average of 86 days of life-threatening high temperatures.  

The study also projected that more than 500 million more people could be at risk for food insecurity by mid-century from droughts triggered by more frequent heatwaves.

The international team of experts that conducted the Lancet study criticized the rise in fossil fuel production, helped by massive government subsidies and investments by private banks.  

A study released last week by the U.N. Environment Program says 20 of the world’s major fossil fuel-producing nations are on track to produce about 110% more oil, gas and coal in 2030 than the amounts consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Holding down global temperatures to a 1.5 degree increase compared with pre-industrial levels was a key goal of the global climate pact signed in Paris in 2015.  

The 20 countries in the report include Australia, Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, which account for 82% of fossil fuel production and 73% of consumption.   

The report says none of the nations have committed to reducing production of oil, gas and coal to levels that would meet the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.