2024 – Over 120,000 People Left To Die

Our emissions are going to lead to a substantial increase in peak urban temperatures. In cities such as Paris, which are not designed for extreme heat, hundreds of thousands of people will likely lose their lives to climate change.

Extreme heatwaves have resulted in some 120,000 deaths.1 France has been most affected, where some 40,000 people have lost their lives.2 Doctors blame the deaths on a combination of extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in European buildings.3 They explain that the human body is usually capable of dealing with extreme heat as long as it has sufficient time to recover.4 However, with many buildings unable to cool down sufficiently overnight,5 body temperatures have continued to rise. This has led to the body temperatures of many Europeans rising to more than 41.5°C, at which point widespread damage occurs to vital organs, including the brain, unless immediate medical attention is obtained.6 Worryingly, the Global Health Organisation warns that body temperatures exceeding 41.5°C are going to become commonplace over the course of the next two decades.7 Furthermore, the organisation states that we should expect the number of lives lost to increase from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands by the end of the century if human-made emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase.8

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Image created by SUPER RADICAL LTD. Image base sourced from ‘Prison Crowded’ taken by the California Public Records Act and released into the public domain. Special thanks to Alejandro Zorita for his assistance creating the image.

Article Endnotes

  1. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 lives being lost becoming commonplace come 2040 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. 2003 heatwaves becoming commonplace sourced from Stott, Stone and Allen – 'Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003' (Dec 2004) – Page 613. Number of lives lost during the 2003 summer heatwaves sourced from Guha-Sapir, Below, and Hoyois – 'EM-DAT: The CRED/OFDA International Disaster Database' – www.emdat.be.
  2. Based on the estimated 20,000 heat-related deaths that occurred during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Guha-Sapir, Below, and Hoyois – 'EM-DAT: The CRED/OFDA International Disaster Database' – www.emdat.be.
  3. Based on extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in buildings being the primary cause of death for the majority of people who lost their lives during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Ogg, Jim – 'Heatwave: Implications of the 2003 French Heat Wave for the Social Care of Older People' – Page 7.
  4. Beniston, Martin and Diaz, Henry F. – 'The 2003 Heat Wave as an Example of Summers in a Greenhouse Climate? Observations and Climate Model Simulations for Basel, Switzerland' – Page 77.
  5. Based on extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in buildings being the primary cause of death for the majority of people who lost their lives during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Ogg, Jim – 'Heatwave: Implications of the 2003 French Heat Wave for the Social Care of Older People' – Page 7.
  6. Patient – 'Heat-Related Illness' – www.patient.info.
  7. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 lives being lost becoming commonplace come 2040 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. Sourced from Stott, Stone and Allen – 'Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003' (Dec 2004) – Page 613.
  8. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 deaths being considered an extremely cold event by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Heatwave intensity increase sourced from Christidis et al. – 'Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since the 2003 European Heatwave' – Pages 46 to 50. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.

The damage caused by climate change does not stop here. Find out what disasters our greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause in the next decade by clicking the link below. Alternatively, find out how we can stop climate change by returning to the main menu.

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  1. David
    23 Oct 2019 @ 10:30 PM

    This is just a test comment to see what they look like!

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  2. David James-Arnold
    24 Oct 2019 @ 10:55 AM

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