The climate crisis is putting the health of almost 12 million Brits at risk, researchers have warned, as rising temperatures could kill more than 5,000 people in the UK every year by 2050.
UK heatwaves in 2020 led to more than 2,500 deaths, the Climate Coalition said, a toll which could double by the 2050s as those with health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are also “dangerously vulnerable” to the increased heat, the study found.
Deaths linked to high temperatures among people aged 65 and over increased by 21 per cent between 2004 and 2018. There were 16 “tropical nights” in the UK last year, a previously rare occurrence where the overnight temperature stayed above 20°C.
The UK population is particularly vulnerable to heat waves, according to Elizabeth Robinson, professor of environmental economics at Reading University. This is because of high rates of pre-existing health conditions, an ageing demographic and little air conditioning,
Reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions is key to preventing unmanageable pressure on the NHS, according to the group.
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