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Without rapid action on climate change, heat waves could kill thousands of people in US cities



While global warming sometimes appears as a distant or abstract threat, new research throws the phenomenon to the test, to death or to perpetuity. He predicts that without significant progress in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, extreme heat waves could kill thousands of people in major US cities.

If the global average temperature rises by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – which some scientists believe is likely if countries honor only their current commitments to reduce emissions – a major heat wave could kill nearly 6,000 people in New York. Similar events could kill more than 2,500 in Los Angeles and more than 2,300 in Miami.

But the new research also indicates that if the US and other countries take aggressive action to limit global warming, many of these extreme heat deaths could be avoided.

"There is indeed still hope and a very small window of opportunity" to keep global warming below international targets and prevent some heat-related deaths, said Eunice Lo, a leading climate scientist. the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. co-author of an article describing the research, published June 5 in the journal Science Advances.


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