Global warming will produce higher death rates in the U.S.
July 2, 2007
Global warming will cause more deaths due to higher temperatures, reports a new study published in Occupational and Environment Medicine.
While milder winters will produce fewer deaths, they will not offset high mortality in summer months.
“Deaths from all causes are known to rise when temperatures go up, and heart attacks and cardiac arrests are more likely when it is very cold,” stated a release from the journal. “It was anticipated that global warming would increase deaths during hot temperatures but that this would be compensated for by fewer deaths in the winter.”
“Our findings suggest that decreases in cold weather as a result of global warming are unlikely to result in decreases in cold-related mortality in the US,” wrote the authors. “Heat-related mortality, in contrast, may increase, particularly if global warming is associated with increased variance of summer temperature.”
The authors attribute higher death rates during hot spells to lack of air-conditioning.
“Central heating, which constitutes an important adaptive mechanism against cold, is almost universal in the US and this may explain why the US population seemed fully acclimatised to cold,” they explained.
“Making air conditioning universally available may reduce heat-related mortality but would, on the other hand, have a perverse effect by enhancing global warming through carbon dioxide emissions from electricity consumption.”