Thursday, December 12, 2019

Many do not like it hot

The hottest day on record in the UK, on 25 July this year, caused the deaths of more than 200 additional people than usual, according to official figures that underline the deadly impact of the climate crisis.

Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics said: “These figures probably understate the full picture. We expect the final figures from Public Health England in January to show that even more people died.” Ward said the data indicated deaths started to rise every day the temperature went above 28C. “Every day that temperatures are above 28C is a threat to people with respiratory diseases,” he said.

Ward said more action needed to be taken to prevent heat-related deaths, particularly in housing design. “The Committee on Climate Change reported in July this year that we have a real problem of homes that are not well adapted to heat, in particular care homes,” he said. “It is clear that the incidence of heatwaves is increasing, both in frequency and intensity, directly as a result of climate change. But we are still building homes that are not taking into account global heating.”

Air conditioning was not the answer, he said. “All air conditioning does is dump the heat out on the streets, it doesn’t get rid of it. And most people can’t afford to install and run air conditioning. It’s not a solution, instead it makes it worse and worse.” Ward said.

Last year, a cross-party committee of MPs said the UK was “woefully unprepared” for deadly heatwaves. The MPs said the government had ignored warnings from its official climate change adviser, and that without action, heat-related deaths would triple to 7,000 a year by the 2040s.

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