Taking action now to reduce climate change would be much less expensive than the damage it’s expected to inflict on people, infrastructure and ecosystems, says a University of Washington expert and group of international scientists.
In a Sept. 20 article in Science magazine, the experts said limiting global warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures rather than 2 degrees Celsius would have substantial benefits for human health and economies.
The experts said the impacts of climate change are happening faster and more extensively than projected from just a few years ago. Heatwaves, for example, are increasing in frequency, intensity and duration, causing tens of thousands of avoidable illnesses and deaths.
“Without additional efforts to prepare for and better manage heat-related risks, including modifying urban infrastructure, each additional unit of warming is projected to increase the numbers of people exposed to heatwaves, particularly in urban areas,” said Dr. Kristie L. Ebi, a professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health. She was one of several co-authors from a dozen nations who wrote the Science piece. The lead author, Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland in Australia, said, “Acting on climate change now has a good return on investment when one considers the damages avoided by acting.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on October 04