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Heat waves have a cost. Here’s why it’s important to quantify it

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Sep 11 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Climate Change · Effects · illuminemX

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: While natural disasters like floods and wildfires cause visible material damage that is often compensated by insurers or governments, the costs of extreme heat predominantly affect human health, making them harder to quantify
• Unlike other natural disasters, heatwaves are often termed "silent killers" due to their less obvious immediate impact

🔭 The context: Heat waves have a profound impact on human health: As an example, the 2021 British Columbia heat dome, linked to climate change, caused over 600 fatalities
• Such heatwaves strain emergency health services, and their intensity and frequency are predicted to rise

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Climate change will make heatwaves more prolonged and severe, and factors such as an aging population and rising urbanization will only amplify their future effects

⏭️ What's next: Studies are leveraging advanced techniques, including AI, to evaluate the full economic impacts of heatwaves beyond mere mortality rates, especially in regions like Québec and Canada

💬 One quote: "Estimating the health costs of heat waves is of great importance, but has been often neglected in the past in comparison to other natural disasters." (Fateh Chebana, Professor in Data Science applied to the Environment and Environmental Health)

📈 One stat: Forecasts indicate that the annual costs of premature heat-related deaths in Canada could range from $3 billion to $3.9 billion by 2050 and between $5.2 billion to $8.5 billion by 2080

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