The Human Cost of Climate Change

A study compares the impacts of heating on cities across the globe.

By Lacy SchleyOct 8, 2019 5:00 AM
Earth’s oceans are a powerful tool when it comes to mitigating climate change, a new report argues. (Credit: NASA)


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In an effort to tackle climate change, dozens of countries, responsible for 55 percent of global emissions, came together to sign the Paris Agreement in 2016. The pact, which at least 185 countries have now signed, aims to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — or even more ideally, to 1.5 C (2.7 F) — and to help countries deal with the impacts of climate change. 

In an abstract sense, we all know how important that goal is, but one recent study in Science Advances highlighted just how life-and-death the stakes are. In major cities, extreme heat events would prove much deadlier with higher global temperatures.

“Increasing mitigation ambition to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal avoids substantial heat-related mortality in U.S. cities,” Science Advances, 2019

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