Global Warming to Leave 22% of Humanity Exposed to Dangerous Heat
A new study warns that at the current projected rate of global warming, 22 percent of humanity will be exposed to dangerous heat by the end of the century. This will take them outside the climatic niche in which almost all of humanity currently resides, revealed a research team who cited new calculations. Living in an area is considered too hot when the average temperatures are 29 degrees Celsius or higher. Currently, around 60 million people live in such areas, by 2100 it will be two billion people. Almost half of them would live in India and Nigeria.
Understanding the “Climatic Niche”
The study is dedicated to the climatic niche, which indicates where humans have preferred to live in the past and up to now. Regions in which average temperatures of around 13 degrees Celsius prevailed have historically had high population densities. Later, a second peak was reached in monsoon areas, where an average of 27 degrees Celsius was reached. Mortality rates increase with lower and higher temperatures, hence the concept of the climatic niche. While most of humanity lived in regions with an average temperature of 13 degrees Celsius in the past, this value has shifted upwards in recent times.
Effect of Global Warming
While 60 million people currently live in areas with an average temperature of more than 29 degrees Celsius, this number is set to increase rapidly by 1.2 degrees Celsius or more. The research group predicted that if global warming were limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, only 5 percent of humanity would be exposed to dangerous heat. If the Paris climate agreement is still adhered to, one-sixth of humanity could be spared this fate.
Limited Options for Adapting
Adapting to excessively high temperatures is always technically possible, but it is not an option for most affected countries, primarily for financial reasons. Experts believe that efforts to limit global warming can significantly reduce human suffering. While the study highlights the impacts of climate change, it is critical to prevent alarmist interpretations that could trigger mass flight. However, it is increasingly vital to support locals, limit global warming, and help people get to safety when necessary.