Heat will almost double death rates in poorer Pakistan than in richer Riyadh, scientists report

Extreme heat from climate change is expected to hit the poorest countries hardest. Global map showing days when temperature will exceed 35°C based on historical average, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emission scenarios and SSP3 socioeconomic scenario, some locations will have temperatures above 35° most of the year through 2049-50 have C

According to a coalition of scientists, economists and climate experts, global warming will worsen health inequalities around the world and increase death rates faster in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

New research from the Climate Impact Lab concludes that low-income countries have been disproportionately affected by extreme heat as negative health impacts have been exacerbated by limited access to air conditioning and less developed health systems, based on historical data.

The study, which points to higher climate-related mortality rates in developing countries than in wealthier countries, comes as world leaders land in Egypt for the UN climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The conference is expected to be dominated by a heated debate between nations over who should bear the cost of climate change, with the smaller, less wealthy nations most affected by a warming planet arguing that wealthier countries with higher emissions should help pay the bill.

In a scenario where countries meet their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement, Faisalabad, Pakistan, could expect annual death rates from all causes to increase by 67 deaths per 100,000 people compared to a future without climate change, it said the authors of the study.

By comparison, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, greater access to electricity and health care would result in an increase of comparatively fewer 35 additional deaths per 100,000 population, despite forecasting similar patterns of extreme heat.

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“Just by looking at this data, you can imagine that this could have a real impact on human migration even over the next 30 or 40 years,” said Hannah Hess, associate director at the independent Rhodium Group, part of the climate lab .

In addition to studying death rates, the group worked with the UN Development Program to forecast the impact of climate change on energy use and the labor force for countries and regions around the world.

Global warming will also result in a modest increase in electricity consumption around the world as people install more air conditioning, the dataset says, although the largest increase in consumption has been concentrated in the wealthiest 10 percent of the world’s population.

Middle-income countries, including China, India, Indonesia and Mexico, have been forecast to increase their electricity consumption, in part due to expanded access to electricity.

The data project also seeks to capture lost productivity per worker per year in weather-exposed sectors such as construction, mining and agriculture. It takes into account the existing country trends of people moving from working in climate-exposed sectors to lower-risk sectors.

In countries already experiencing extreme heat, like Cameroon and Malaysia, workers in high-risk sectors could face disruptions of more than 15 hours a year compared to a world without climate change, the researchers found.

Hess said workers would have to adapt to rising temperatures. “A really vivid example is the World Cup stadium under construction in Qatar,” said Hess. “If you look at the construction workers – what they wear to work in this hot sun are huge helmets, they have suits and they take breaks all the time.”

The World Bank this week released a report on the threat posed by climate change to development goals, showing that the investment needed to cut carbon emissions in the low-income countries that are most vulnerable to climate change is a lot are higher.

The World Bank found that an average annual investment of 1.4 percent of GDP between 2022 and 2030 could cut emissions in developing countries by up to 70 percent by 2050.

But low-income countries would need funding equivalent to 5 to 8 percent of their GDP annually between 2022 and 2030.

The Bank’s review covers 20 countries, which account for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The report mainly covers African and Asian countries including China.

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https://www.ft.com/content/06b52342-c855-49b7-af86-a234f6283612 Heat will almost double death rates in poorer Pakistan than in richer Riyadh, scientists report

Adam Bradshaw

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