Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Heat Stress

Heat stress threatens many more people in the future.  Some places are already close to the survival limit, which means they'll pass it soon, and more will follow.  Many places have no legal limit to how hot it can be at work and thus no guarantee people won't be forced to work in deadly heat.  However, some heat waves have stopped most work over a wide area because people just couldn't move.  It used to be the case that acute kidney damage went away if treated, but now there's a rising trend where heat stress makes it permanent.

Now put these together: rising heat in some of the world's most populated areas, minimal legal protection against heat waves, reduced number of days when people can work, and increased risk of fatal heat stress or life-threatening illness.  That means a lot of places will become effectively uninhabitable before they cross the wetbulb threshold, because people won't be able to work enough to support themselves without getting sick or dying.  The ones who can leave will do so.  That area holds millions of people at the least worst scenarios we're unlikely to see, over a billion at the worse ones, and potentially much more after adding in a few more years of "we didn't think of this factor" increases in how bad it's really going to be.
Tags: environment, news, safety
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