Rising Temperatures Could Kill More People Than All Deadliest Infectious Diseases: Study

Countries invest in disease prevention. Why not invest in climate action, too?

Why SANDEF Should CareClimate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest countries, exacerbating global inequality. The United Nations Global Goal 13: Climate Action calls on wealthier countries to both reduce their emissions and fund climate resilience and adaptation in low-income countries. 

If the world warms by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — a very likely scenario — then an additional 73 per 100,000 people will die from hot temperatures each year, according to “the first globally comprehensive” study on the subject published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Such a death toll would surpass the annual mortality rate of all infectious diseases combined — including malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. The bulk of this brutal outcome will be concentrated in low-income countries that are the least responsible for the climate crisis.

“It’s this double whammy of inequality,” Amir Jina, an environmental economist at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the study, told Global Citizen. “Not only are poorer countries getting worse impacts, but they’re also not able to pay as much to reduce these impacts.”

“For wealthy countries, the cost of climate change seems like it’s coming through money, but for poorer countries, they’re paying for climate change with their lives,” he added.

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