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New report warns of dramatic rise in deaths attributed to one cause: ‘May lead to a 370% increase’

“Threatening the very foundations of human health.”

“Threatening the very foundations of human health.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A new report by a major medical journal says that the Earth’s rising temperatures may lead to a 370% increase in heat-related deaths every year, prompting one program director to suggest that health professionals should be more involved in climate discussions. 

What happened?

As reported by Grist, the Lancet released a study on Nov. 14 warning that our planet’s changing temperatures are “threatening the very foundations of human health.”

Notably, annual heat-related deaths jumped 85% between 2013 and 2022 when comparing them to the statistics from 1991 to 2000, reported Grist. 

The heat, combined with a significant increase in drought-affected lands, reportedly “put 127 million people at risk of moderate or severe food insecurity,” per Grist. 

The study cautioned that another roughly 525 million people could be vulnerable to moderate-to-severe food insecurity due to heat waves if temperatures rise 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit on average above pre-industrial levels, while the transmission potential of mosquito-spread virus dengue could see a 37% uptick. 

Why is this concerning?

Lancet found the overheating of our planet has primarily been driven by the use of dirty energy sources, such as oil, coal, and gas, per Grist. 

“Since last year, fossil fuel investments grew, and oil and gas giants further expanded their activities. Since the Paris Agreement was signed [in 2015], private banks increased their lending to fossil fuel companies,” the Lancet posted in a summary of its report.   

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s temperatures have been rising at an accelerated rate since 1981, and all of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2010. 

What’s being done about the threat to public health?

A number of countries, local governments, and companies are already taking steps to reduce their use of gas-powered vehicles or transition to clean energy, like solar and wind.

The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, decided to hold its first “Day of Health” on Dec. 3 to examine the intersection between climate and health. 

Ramon Lorenzo Luis Guinto — director of the planetary and global health program at St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine in the Philippines — believes this recognition is a positive sign and hopes that future iterations of the conference will include health professionals in policy negotiations, per Grist.  

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