UNU-Institute for Environment and Human Security: Five facts on heat stress
Global climate change continues to be a pressing concern and extreme weather events are on the rise – also in Europe. In this light, the past few weeks have seen an extreme heatwave in parts of the Northern hemisphere.
Given that fact, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) stresses five facts on heatwaves and their impacts:
1. Heatwaves are expected to become common.
2. Heatwaves affect colder-climate countries too, and can have severe consequences.
3. Impacts of heatwaves can be particularly severe in urban areas.
4. The effects of weather-related disasters are most severely felt by vulnerable populations.
5. Adaptation and mitigation measures are needed, but are not yet adequate.
Following UNU-EHS, without mitigation measures to counter the weather-related hazards caused by climate change, it is likely that heatwaves will be more frequent, affecting human health and increasing costs. For instance, in Germany alone, the heatwave of 2003 resulted in nearly 7,000 deaths and many heat-related illnesses.
In this regard, UNU-EHS calls city governments to consider heatwave hazards in their development strategies to ensure effective planning instruments.
At UNU-EHS, the ZURES project seeks to address various issues in the field of heat pollution and accompanying heatwaves in heavily populated urban areas. Together with local partners, ZURES is analyzing current and future heat trends in the pilot cities of Bonn and Ludwigsburg with the goal of developing planning tools that can enable the integration of adaptation strategies into urban development processes.
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