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Global Heating Crisis: 2 billion people at risk by century’s end, scientists warn

Drought land

Posted: Sunday, July 9, 2023. 7:38 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: As global temperatures rise, scientists warn that over 2 billion people could be living in life-threatening hot climates by the end of this century, according to recent findings published in Nature Sustainability, as reported by Yahoo News.

Human activity has already resulted in a global temperature rise of nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, Science Hub states. The Paris Agreement, an international treaty designed to curb heat-trapping gases, set the goal to limit this increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. However, recent studies predict a more alarming reality.

The study found that with the current laws, population growth, and environmental conditions, global temperatures are likely to rise about 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels, according to Science Hub.

“Unprecedented heat” zones, defined as regions with an average annual temperature of 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, were examined in this research. Four decades ago, only 12 million people inhabited such regions. Now, due to existing global warming, around 60 million people are affected, as reported by Science Hub.

By 2100, if no drastic policy changes are made, a staggering 2 billion people out of the projected 9.5 billion global population will be residing in areas with an average temperature exceeding 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The countries expected to be most affected are those around the equator, including India, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Pakistan, according to Science Hub.

The global heating crisis carries dire consequences. Increased heat waves, droughts, wildfires, the spread of infectious diseases, decreased labor efficiency, and heightened conflict are all correlated with rising temperatures, reports Science Hub.

“That’s a profound reshaping of the habitability of the surface of the planet, and could lead potentially to the large-scale reorganization of where people live,” says study author Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, in an interview with ScienceAlert.

However, all hope is not lost. If the global community manages to achieve the temperature rise cap outlined in the Paris Agreement, the number of people living in unprecedented heat zones could be limited to half a billion instead of the predicted 2 billion, Science Hub reports.

In the interim, individuals can take measures to protect themselves from heat waves with tips for staying cool, which include staying hydrated, wearing light-colored clothing, avoiding direct sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day, and using air conditioning or fans when possible.

This warning underscores the urgency for nations to adopt more aggressive climate policies to curb the rate of global warming and mitigate its adverse effects.

 

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