I’ve always understood that heat causes more fatalities than other weather-related phenomena. It’s only going to get worse with climate change. If you thought that climate change was all about rising sea levels, think again. Earlier this week, the Union of Concerned Scientists released “Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days.” I’d like to say it makes chilling reading.
Here are just two of the predictions for mid-century conditions that caught my eye:
Nearly one-third of the nation’s 481 urban areas with a population of 50,000 people or more will experience an average of 30 or more days per year with a heat index above 105°F, a rise from just three cities historically.
Assuming no changes in population, the number of people experiencing 30 or more days with a heat index above 105°F in an average year will increase from just under 900,000 to more than 90 million—nearly one-third of the US population.
And yet, there are still people who actually maintain that carbon emissions are beneficial.
I thought about accompanying this post with one of the many versions of the song “Heat Wave,” but it’s much too upbeat. Instead, I found this clip of Robert Frost reading “Fire and Ice in an appropriately apocalyptic voice.
It means both hate and desire are our undoing. Hate is what separates us, and prevents us from working together to solve the problem. Desire is for the comforts and the unwillingness to sacrifice to save ourselves.