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Study finds extreme weather can claim up to 152,000 lives annually in Europe by 2100
August 08,2017   By:Xinhua
BRUSSELS, Aug.8,2017-- A newly published European study on climate showed that weather-related disasters could kill some 152,000 people every year in Europe if climate change is not curbed, and that heat waves would be the cause of 99 percent of those deaths.
 
The study, co-authored by European Commission's joint research center and published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, said if no actions are taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impact of extreme weather events, Europe will see 50 times more deaths per year between 2071 and 2100 than in the 1981-2010 period.
 
It also found that weather-related disasters could affect about two-thirds of the European population per year by 2100, which translates into 351 million annually. The rate in the 1981-2010 reference period, however, is 5 percent, the study showed.
 
Geographically, the study said southern Europe will be worst affected. Premature mortality rate due to extreme weathers by the end of the century -- 700 in a million inhabitants -- "could become the greatest environmental risk factor," it added.
 
Europe, especially the southern part of it, has been experiencing scorching heat waves this summer as countries like Italy once recorded temperatures of above 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit), levels not seen during the same period in previous years.
 
Global warming, according to the study, dominates the causes of those changes, with heat waves projected to be responsible for 151,500 of the 152,500 annual deaths, or 99 percent, by 2100.
 
Meanwhile, coastal flooding is also on track of becoming increasingly life-threatening, from which death tolls are expected to rise substantially from six per year at the start of the century to 233 per year by the end of it, or a 3,780-percent increase.
 
As far as other fatal weather disasters are concerned, deaths related to wildfires will grow by 138 percent, river floods by 54 percent, and windstorms by 20 percent, the study demonstrated.
 
While climate change accounts for 90 percent of extreme weather events and is thus the principal reason for the risks, the remaining 10 percent will likely be the results of population growth, human migration and urbanization, the study found.
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