Outside the United States, extreme heat and climate are hitting billions of people

Poll staff. Pilgrims. Tourists go hiking.

All have died in the scorching heat in recent weeks around the world, a heartbreaking reminder of the global dangers of extreme weather as a blistering heatwave hits more than 70 million people. America this week.

Dozens of cities in Mexico breaks heat record in May and June, killing more than 100 people. India is suffering from an unusually long heat wave that has killed many election workers, and this week, in the capital Delhi, even overnight temperature still in the mid-90s F, or in the mid-30s C. Greece is bracing for wildfires this week, on the heels of back-to-back heat waves killing several tourists In Bamako, Mali’s capital, hospitals reported more than 100 deaths on the first four days of April, the Associated Press reported.

From May 2023 to May 2024, estimated at 6.3 billion peopleAccording to a recent analysis by Climate Central, a nonprofit scientific organization, about 4 out of 5 people around the world have lived through at least a month of temperatures considered unusually high in the region. their.

The damage to human health, agriculture and the global economy is only just beginning to be understood.

Extreme heat killed one estimated 489,000 people According to the World Meteorological Organization, every year from 2000 to 2019, heatwaves became the most dangerous extreme weather phenomenon. Swiss RE, the insurance giant, said in a report this week that cumulative dangers of climate change could further boost the growing strike and riot insurance market. “Climate change could also cause food and water shortages, which could lead to civil unrest and mass migration,” the report said.

For the world’s two rival economic powers, China and the United States, both face a common danger this summer. As one-fifth of the US population is under extreme heat warnings this week, some areas in northern China have broken maximum temperature records. And earlier this week, the capital Beijing was under a heat warning when temperatures reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).

These two countries are also the two largest producers of greenhouse gases that heat the planet. China’s current emissions are by far the highest in the world, and the United States’ cumulative emissions over the past 150 years of industrialization are the highest in the world.

Scientists have repeatedly found that emissions like these produced by burning fossil fuels are responsible for these unusually high temperatures. “It is not surprising that heat waves are becoming more dangerous,” Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College in London, said in a statement Thursday.

Global temperature in the first 5 months of the year has reached its highest level since modern record keeping began. That makes 2024 on course to be the hottest year in recorded history, eclipsing last year’s record.

Saudi Arabia, a petrostate that opposes diplomatic efforts to phase out fossil fuel use, experienced a heartbreaking event this week. Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday that 1,000 people died during the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city in Saudi Arabia. In central Algeria, another oil-rich state, Riots broke out on the water in mid-June when rising temperatures and lack of rain deplete drinking water supplies.

Doctors around the world are increasingly pointing out the often underestimated effects of temperature on health.

Many hospital systems do not have a proper way to count heat-related illnesses or deaths because heat can worsen the condition. many other conditionslike kidney disease or asthma, which means heat-related deaths are sometimes attributed to other causes and appear as Excess mortality patterns.

“Transitioning away from fossil fuels is the best way to prevent future heat-related death and illness — every step of the way,” said Renee Salas, an emergency room physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Another is just a band-aid for a bullet wound.” lead author of a special issue of The Lancet, the medical journal, on climate change and health.

Heat is not the only extreme weather hazard affecting the world.

High temperatures have dried the soil in northern China’s agricultural provinces, prompting emergency response measures to combat the widespread drought, including cloud seeding operations to induce rain. Meanwhile, heavy rain flooded the south of the country, causing landslides and blocking roads Power outage affects 100,000 family.

In the United States, the weather in New Mexico went from wildfire to flood in just a week. About 23,000 acres have burned in southern New Mexico since two fast-moving wildfires were discovered Monday. At least two people died. Then, on Wednesday, torrential rains and floods pummeled the burn-scarred hillsides.

Last week, three days of tropical rain in Florida wreaked havoc on airports and highways.

On Thursday, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Alberto, made landfall on Mexico’s northeastern coast. Local officials said that amid fierce rain and wind, three children died. A man drowned while trying to save a balloon in a fast-flowing river. Two other people were electrocuted when the cable touched the pond.

Hurricane season is It is expected to be unusually strong this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because the ocean is extremely hot. That’s also partly due to the burning of fossil fuels.

John Liu contributed reporting.

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