Global warming has a negative impact on public health in many ways. For the first time, research has been conducted into the impact of the temperature rise on the death rate due to heat.
According to this research, at least one in three deaths from heat in recent decades is attributable to the climate crisis. In fact, between 1991 and 2018, 37% of deaths from high temperatures were a direct result of global warming. The research emphasises the climate problem is not a matter for the future, people are already dying from it.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bern, in collaboration with the universities of Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Valencia and Madrid, drew that conclusion. The rate of deaths from the climate crisis is relatively high in Central and South America (up to 76% in Ecuador). It is also significant in southeast Asia (between 48% and 61%), according to the survey.
Effect in Spain
According to the research, Spain is one of the southern European countries with the largest temperature increase. Calculations show 704 people die every year in Spain as a result of the heat attributable to the climate crisis. In Madrid alone there are 177 deaths per year, in Barcelona 94 and in Seville 39. That is considerably more than in the central and northern European countries.
Efficient measures and strategies needed
Paradoxically, the poorer countries, which themselves make the smallest contribution to global warming, suffer the greatest consequences. The researchers therefore underline the importance of more efficient measures and strategies to prevent higher death rates. If this does not happen, the percentage of deaths directly attributable to the climate crisis will increase sharply.
The global temperature has currently warmed by about 1 degree. However, according to the researchers that is only a fraction of the further warming that will occur if CO2 emissions continue to increase uncontrollably. Southern European countries such as Spain are especially vulnerable to this warming. As a result, the death rate due to high temperatures will be relatively higher here than other parts of Europe.