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The poorest people are burdened with heat waves as the temperature rises

By the end of this century, the world’s lowest-income quarter will face exposure to heat waves comparable to those faced by the other three-quarters, according to a new study by the AGU journal Earth’s Future. Credit: Mohammad Reza Alizadeh (CC BY 4.0)

Low-income people are exposed to heat waves for a longer period of time compared to high-income people due to the combination of location and access to heat adaptation such as air conditioning. According to new research, this inequality is expected to increase as temperatures rise.


Low-income earners are currently facing a 40% higher population exposure To heat wave Than the person who has Higher income, According to a new study.By the end of the century, the poorest 25% of the world’s population will be exposed heat Waves are generated at the same speed as the rest of the population combined.

Poor people can be hit by a one-two punch of more heat waves from climate change because they cannot keep up with the location and as a result of lack of heat adaptation such as air conditioning.

This study analyzed historical income data, climate records, and heat adaptation to quantify the levels of heat wave exposure faced by people of different income levels around the world. Exposure to heat waves was measured by multiplying the number of people exposed to heat waves by the number of days of heat waves. Researchers have combined these observations with climate models to predict how exposure will change over the next 80 years.

This study was published in the AGU journal The future of the earth, It publishes interdisciplinary research on the past, present and future of our planet and its inhabitants.

In this study, even considering access to air conditioners, cold shelters, safety regulations for outdoor workers, and heat safety awareness campaigns, the world’s lowest income quarter will see a significant increase in heat wave exposure by 2100. I found out that I would face it. Relatively high-income quarters have little change in exposure due to their generally greater ability to keep up with climate change.

Lowest income people population The quarter faces 23 more heat waves a year than the highest-income quarter by 2100. Many of the populous, low-income areas are already in warm tropics, and their population is expected to grow, contributing to heat discrepancies. Wave exposure.

This study often shows that the population with the least contribution to anthropogenic climate change Climate change Mojtaba Sadegh, a climatologist and principal research author at Boise State University, described the impact.Historically, high-income countries help Most of the greenhouse gases.

“We expected to see a discrepancy, but seeing that one-quarter of the world faces as much exposure as the other three-quarters combined … it’s It was amazing, “said Sadegh.

High-income areas often have more access to adaptation, but electricity demand overwhelms the grid and can face rolling blackouts or voltage drops. According to Sadeg, the increase in heatwave-affected geographic areas has already increased 2.5-fold since the 1980s, affected by California importing electricity from the Pacific Northwest. Limit the ability to “borrow” electricity from non-neighboring areas.

“Too much experience has shown that just issuing heat wave forecasts is not enough to ensure that people know what appropriate actions to take during a heat wave. “Masu,” said Professor Christie Ebi of the Health Center. The University of Washington’s global environment that was not involved in the study. She said it was important to collect more data on the frequency and response of heat waves in low-income countries.

Sadegh hopes that this research will drive innovation into affordable, energy-efficient cooling solutions and highlight the need for short-term solutions. “We need to raise awareness of danger and heat safety, improve early warning systems, and improve access to those early warning systems,” he said.


The use of U.S. home air conditioners could exceed capacity over the next decade due to climate change


For more information:
Mohammad Reza Alizadeh et al, Increasing heat stress inequality in warming climates, The future of the earth (2022). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021EF002488

Quote: As the temperature rises (February 10, 2022), the poorest people increase the burden of heat waves.

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The poorest people are burdened with heat waves as the temperature rises

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