Intended for healthcare professionals


Climate change: swift action is needed to prevent millions of premature deaths, report warns

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 06 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4104
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

An average temperature 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels would kill an extra 132 000 Europeans a year by the end of this century through direct heat related mortality, a collaboration of European science academies has warned.

A report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council,1 comprising the academies of science of the EU countries plus those of Norway and Switzerland, says that urgent action is imperative to protect human health.

Previous research has estimated that record heat in Europe in 2003 brought about 70 000 excess deaths,2 and the European Commission has warned of 90 000 excess heat fatalities a year by 2050 if no steps are taken to curb emissions.

But the academies’ report says that even such daunting numbers fail to account for frequently overlooked indirect health effects of higher …

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