Death and Life on a Heat-Stressed Planet

Following the UN IPCC’s dire climate report earlier this month, two studies in The Lancet dig into heat, health, and a cooler way forward.
The first paper defines the risks: In 9 countries in 2019, extreme heat caused 356,000 deaths and morbidities including stroke, organ damage, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Mental health issues, adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, hospitalizations, and ER visits also surged with heat waves.
The second study examines mitigation strategies. Air conditioning, the fastest-growing solution, is out of reach for the most vulnerable and exacerbates warming effects in the long run. “The global community and policy makers should look beyond short-term solutions that might be convenient but do not promote long-term resilience,” the authors write.

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