WASHINGTON — Extreme temperatures linked to climate change could cause an additional 11,000 heat-related deaths in the United States in the summer of 2030, according to a report released Monday by the Obama administration.
That’s just the most obvious of many health effects of climate change outlined in the report, part of a year-old effort by the White House to highlight the immediate effects of rising global temperatures.
Ragweed pollen season is now as many as 27 days longer than it was in 1995, leading to more asthma episodes in children, and wildfires and increasing ozone levels could also lead to respiratory problems. Incidents of mosquito- and tick-borne diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease are now moving north. And more violent rainfalls will lead to more flooding, more runoff and more contaminated drinking water.
“This isn’t just about glaciers and polar bears, it’s about the health of our families and our kids,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The report involved the work of more than 100 government scientists at eight federal agencies, and comes almost a year after President Obama convened the deans of 30 medical and public health schools in an effort to draw attention to the health impacts of climate change.
Heat-related deaths in the United States could rise by 11,000 in 2030, and by 27,000 in the year 2100, the report said.
By 2030, scientists expect an increase a of about 2 degrees Celsius — or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — from the pre-industrial average. But John Holdren, Obama’s chief science adviser, noted that even small changes in average temperatures can ripple into even larger extremes.
Officials said the study was extensively peer-reviewed, and even looked at whether some of the effects of climate change would be offset. “Because of the science we have in this report and the modeling that was done, we can say that the increase in heat-related deaths far exceeds the decrease in cold related deaths. And we know that because of science,” said U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
Source: USA Today