In a new study published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, the authors attribute 38% of all heat-related deaths in the 732 locations in 43 countries studied between 1991 and 2018 to climate change. And this increase in deaths was seen on every continent. This is yet more evidence that the human toll of climate change is no longer in the distant future; no longer solely a problem for future generations. No, climate change is here, front and center.
We have already warmed the planet by 1 degree Celsius. And we have already experienced a significant increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes, typhoons, floods, and fires across the planet. Then there is the extensive bleaching of the coral reefs. And, of course, the disappearing glaciers and sea ice. Add it all up and climate change is upon us.
The lead author of the paper, Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, commenting to the New York Times said, “We are thinking about these problems of climate change as something that the next generation will face,” she said. “It’s something we are facing already. We are throwing stones at ourselves.” Of course, future generations will indeed bear the full brunt of climate change as Dr. Vicedo-Cabrera echoes, “This burden will amplify,” she said. “Really, we need to do something.”
Indeed, on Earth Day, Pope Francis told us that “It’s time to Act.”
Working together, we can help take care of our common home.