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Heatwaves can be responsible for the death of over 150,000 people a year in Europe up to the end of this century, marking a 50-fold increase in climate-related deaths in the continent compared to that of the last three decades, a new study says.

Findings of a research titled “Increasing risk over time of weather-related hazards to the European population: a data-driven prognostic study” suggested that heat waves will be responsible for killing of 15,1500 people by the period of 2170 to 2100 compared to 2,700 heat-related deaths between 1981 to 2010.

The study, which was conducted by the European Commission and published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal on Friday, analyzed the effects of the seven most harmful types of weather-related disasters, namely heatwaves, cold snaps, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods and windstorms, in the 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

The study suggested that heatwaves, among others, would be the most lethal weather-related disaster responsible for 99 percent of all future extreme climate-related deaths in the continent.

“Climate change is one of the biggest global threats to human health of the 21st century, and its peril to society will be increasingly connected to weather-driven hazards,” said lead co-author Giovanni Forzieri of the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy.

He also warned that the grim scenario would unfold as predicted unless “global warming is curbed as a matter of urgency” through controlling greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather events.

Findings of an almost similar research, published in Science Advances magazine on Thursday, showed that South Asia would become “too hot to live” by the end of this century.

The study further warned that towards the end of the 21st century, the densely-populated agricultural regions of South Asia would be above human survivability threshold.

Almost all countries, including top air polluters such as the United States, China and India, signed the Paris Climate Accord, a landmark climate agreement that went into effect in November 2016.

The agreement obliged countries to make a unified effort to stop, or at least slow down, global warming. 

Claiming that the agreement could hurt American jobs, US President Donald Trump announced the country’s withdrawal from the accord in June, sparking international outcry.

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17 August 2018

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