A new study reveals the severity of global heating by calculating how many heat-related deaths would occur in major U.S. cities if the world continues to heat at the current rate. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami are predicted to see the highest number of deaths every year, but with each half degree cooler that the world remains, hundreds of lives can be saved.

The study estimates that if the world continues on the current path to heat up to 3 degrees Celsius above the average pre-industrial global temperature, 5,800 people would die annually from heat-related deaths in New York City, 2,500 in Los Angeles and 2,300 in Miami. The analysis included 15 cities, and the numbers may be conservative, because the researchers did not adjust for additional temperature increases from urban heat island effect. The calculations also did not adjust for population growth nor potential adaptation measures.

Climate justice advocates, particularly from vulnerable small islands, have been vocal about the need to curtail global warming to just 1.5 degrees
Celsius. Studies show that increasing temperatures will lead to disastrous coastal flooding, drought, sea level rise and extreme weather. This most recent study predicts that by meeting this ambitious target, 2,716 lives could be saved every year in New York City alone.

Related: Climate twins — which city will your city feel like in 2080?

By demonstrating specific numbers and individual lives lost, the researchers are hopeful their study will contribute to mounting evidence that radical action must occur to stop the climate crisis.

“Reducing emissions would lead to a smaller increase in heat-related deaths, assuming no additional actions to adapt to higher temperatures,” said Kristie Ebi, a study co-author from the University of Washington.

Despite President Trump’s efforts to expand the oil and gas industry both nationally within the U.S. and internationally as a major export, the average American is increasingly concerned and fearful about global warming. In fact, climate change is a central issue for democrats in the upcoming 2020 election and will certainly spur conversation and debate, though time will tell if it will also spur action.

+ Science Advances

Via The Guardian

Image via Martin Adams