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Southern California environment news and trends

Heat-related deaths expected to soar in U.S.

Image: Cimexus/Flickr

According to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council, climate change could lead to as many 150,000 more Americans dying from heat-related causes by the end of the century.

As reported by Think Progress, the study, entitled “Killer Summer Heat,” looks at the projected numbers across 40 American cities, and it’s not pretty. With Louisville, KY (19,000 deaths) and Detroit, MI (18,000 deaths) leading the pack, Los Angeles clocks in at 1,200 projected heat-related deaths by the year 2099.

"This is a wake-up call. Climate change has a number of real life-and-death consequences. One of which is that as carbon pollution continues to grow, climate change is only going to increase the number of dangerously hot days each summer, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost," said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC's climate and clean air program in a press release. "To prevent the health impacts of climate change from getting even worse, we need to establish a comprehensive program to reduce heat-trapping pollution from all sources, by building on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposals to limit carbon pollution from new power plants and cars."

The number of deaths in the report is based on the theory that carbon pollution will more than double by the end of the century unless new curbing policies are implemented.

"Our research shows that rising temperatures could cause five times the number of 'Excessive Heat Event days' by mid-century and eight-times the number by century's end," said Dr. Larry Kalkstein, research professor of geography and regional studies at the University of Miami and one of the authors of the report "These hotter days have a real human cost."

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