The European Environment Agency has warned that if proper measures are not taken, heat waves could kill 90,000 Europeans every year by the end of the century.
“Without adaptation measures, under a 3°C global warming scenario by 2100, 90,000 Europeans could die each year from extreme heat,” the report says.
“With global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, that number drops to 30,000 deaths a year,” he added.
Countries have pledged to keep global temperature rise at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which is likely to be achieved by the world under current emission trends.
The European Environment Agency, citing insurance data, said that between 1980 and 2020, about 129,000 Europeans died from extreme heat.
She added that more frequent heat waves associated with climate change, aging and increased urbanization could lead to an increase in this number in the coming years, especially in the south of the continent.
The European Environment Agency’s latest warning follows a report released by the World Health Organization on Monday, November 7, which says at least 15,000 people have died in Europe this year due to hot weather.
It is noteworthy that the three months, from June to August, were the warmest in Europe since the beginning of observations. Exceptionally high temperatures led to the worst drought on the continent since the Middle Ages.
Beyond the heat itself, the European Environment Agency said climate change could make Europe more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue, which are spread by mosquito bites.
Rising sea temperatures are also becoming more favorable for cholera-causing bacteria, especially along the Baltic coast.
The agency called for strict action, saying “all temperature-related deaths are preventable in a European context.”
“Reducing the health impact of heat requires the implementation of a wide range of solutions, including effective thermal health action plans, greening cities, proper design and construction, and changing working hours and conditions,” the agency stressed.