Climate change caused 1,500 deaths in UK during heatwaves, study claims

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 02, 2021, 05:02 PM(IST)

Climate change (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )

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A new study reveals that at least 1,500 heatwave deaths that occurred in the United Kingdom can be attributed to climate change and the crises triggered by it

A new study reveals that at least 1,500 heatwave deaths that occurred in the United Kingdom can be attributed to climate change and the crises triggered by it. The research posits a "very broad estimate" of deaths caused by heatwaves in the UK which took place in 2003 and 2018.

The study found that the heatwave which struck the UK in 2003 caused 2,234 deaths. Out of these, at least 1,117 were caused by climate change, which was caused by human actions in the first place. In addition, the 2018 heatwave, whereby temperatures broke records in cities like Glasgow, Belfast and caused around 863 deaths. Out of these, 432 were caused by climate change.

But the study's lead author - Ben Clarke, who is a PhD student at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute told The Independent that more work is required to refine the estimates. He said that researchers were able to calculate the possibility of more heatwaves simply based on climate change which was caused by human beings. 

Also read: Climate change may have contributed to emergence of coronavirus in China: Study

Their claims found backing from previous estimates of excess deaths that took place during the heatwaves. This technique of ascertaining how climate change, which is caused largely by human beings could affect the damage done by extreme weather events like floods, heatwaves, and storms, and is known as ''event attribution''.

The intensity of the UK's 2003 heatwave went up twice owing to climate change caused by human beings. In addition, the intensity of the 2018 heatwave increased by 30 per cent owing to climate change.

Also read: Countries failing to fund climate change adaptation measures, says United Nations

The study was published in the journal titled Climate Risk Management and focuses on studies to ascertain the extent of deaths and damage caused by events that qualify as extreme weather. These can be attributed to climate change.

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