Paris climate agreement can avert thousands of heat-related deaths in US: researchers

Paris climate agreement can avert thousands of heat-related deaths in US: researchers
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The Paris climate agreement could avert thousands of heat-related deaths in the U.S., according to a study published in Science Advances journal Wednesday.

For the Paris agreement, countries pledged to cut emissions to hold global warming 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. The countries also promised additional efforts to hold limit temperature 2.7 degrees F.

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The researchers compared the two targets by how many heat-related deaths there would be in 15 cities across the United States, including Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.

The study wanted to assess the benefits of the Paris agreement “not in terms of the climate or the temperature, but in terms of how many human lives could be saved or how many heat-related deaths could be avoided by mitigating climate change,” Eunice Lo, a research associate at the University of Bristol and lead author of the study, told the New York Times.

If global temperatures rose more than the 2.7 degree baseline the researchers established, more people would die overall.

Limiting warming to the lower Paris Climate Goal could avoid 110 to 2,720 annual heat-related deaths during extreme heat-events, depending on the city.

Limiting warming to the higher goal could avoid 70 to 1,980 deaths per city.

Atlanta and San Francisco were the only cities where more warming did not lead to more heat-related deaths, a finding that researchers attributed to limited extreme heat days in the data for those cities.

“The more warming you have, the more heat waves you have,” said Michael Wehner, a senior staff scientist in the computational research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was not involved in this study, told the Times. “The more heat waves you have, the more people die.”