If the global temperature rises above the critical mark of two degrees, according to a British study, up to a billion people will suffer from extreme heat stress.
Glasgow – That would be 15 times more affected than at the moment. And if it rose to four degrees, even half of humanity would be affected, as the study published on Tuesday by the British weather service on the sidelines of the world climate conference in Glasgow shows. The scientists understand potentially fatal extreme heat stress as temperatures above 32 degrees with very high humidity. If the temperatures are above this threshold, it is recommended, according to international safety standards when working outdoors, to take an hourly break in order to avoid states of exhaustion.
Andy Hartley of the Met Office’s climate department said old and sick people are particularly at risk from heat stress, as are people who have to do a lot of physical work outdoors. Exeter University researcher Richard Betts said the analysis shows how urgent it is to limit global warming to well below two degrees compared to pre-industrial times. Otherwise there was a threat of “serious and widespread risks” to the health of many people.
The climate protection plans submitted to the United Nations so far are far from sufficient to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to a tolerable level of 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. According to the UN Climate Agency, the world is instead on a 2.7 degree path. (dpa)