A new report by the National Academy of Sciences found that US cities are 12.7-29.5 times more likely to experience extreme heat. This makes humanity’s ability to cope with heat the biggest challenge of the century,
The report took a look at the 47 biggest US cities with varying greenhouse-gas-level simulations. The worst impact was found in cities located in the sunbelt. These include cities like Austin and Orlando and will experience some of the worst heat.
By no means is this report set in stone, but it is very unlikely that our greenhouse gas levels will reduce by much.
What Kind of Extreme Heat Are We Talking About
The report was actually quite specific on what is counted as a “hot day” for the study.
These include days that were in the 99th percentile in the region between 2000 and 2009. This means that heat must equal or exceed record temperatures in that decade.
Now, you may be wondering why exactly would the report focus on those specific temperatures, and there is a great reason. Because those temperature levels are lethal in some areas.
According to the CDC, 702 people die annually in the United States as a result of heat-related illness. That’s more than hurricanes and flooding in a year.
If heat levels increase by a factor of 12.7-29.5, the number of deaths would spike considerably.
And this says nothing about the increase of energy usage for homes and businesses to keep them at comfortable levels. This will constantly increase costs and additional strain on the power grid.
Will We Change?
The report has room for error since it is based on expected greenhouse gas levels by the end of the century. None of these estimates foresaw the COVID-19 lockdown happening.
This by itself has significantly lowered emissions for the year, but more importantly, nations around the world are planning to recover from this recession by funding green projects. This will have a serious impact on emission levels.
The only question is, by how much?