More than 3,330 New Yorkers could die each year from climate change-related extreme heat by 2080, warns a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Elisaveta Petkova, the lead author of the study, noted that the number of hot days (when the temperature is at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) in New York City is expected to triple by the year 2080 and beyond, causing death by heat exhaustion, dehydration, or heart and respiratory conditions.
By comparison, between 2000 and 2006, there were about 600 heat-related deaths annually in New York City.
Many of the predicted deaths could be avoided if greenhouse gas emissions were curbed and the city made significant efforts to shield residents from rising temperatures (such as opening more cooling centers, planting more trees, and installing reflective rooftops).
Under their most optimistic scenario, the researchers projected just 167 heat-related deaths per year by the 2080s.
“This difference underlines the magnitude of the potential public health benefit associated with reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere,” they conclude.