Climate change could lead to more injuries and deaths
Injuries like drownings, and assaults could kill up to an additional 2,135 people each year in the US as climate change continues to cause unusual temperature swings. The findings by researchers from Imperial College London, Columbia, and Harvard were published today in the journal Nature Medicine. The connection between swings in temperature — unusual spells of heat or cold — and injuries still can't be explained, but researchers say that their estimates could help spur efforts to prevent those deaths.
Looking at injuries associated with climate change has been a blind spot in research, authors of the study published today say. Previous studies have looked into how climate change could drive more deaths from things like heat illness or diseases spread by mosquitoes. Between 2030 and 2050, about 250,000 people could die each year because of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress made worse by climate change, according to the World Health Organization.
But 5 million people die from injuries across the globe each year, making up nearly one in ten of all deaths. Many of those injuries can be prevented, which is why the authors say they ought to be considered as part of efforts to better prepare for a future with potentially catastrophic climate change.
Some of the injuries they looked at are unintentional, including deaths from drownings, falls, and car accidents. The study also looked at intentionally inflicted injuries from assaults and suicide, which could point to how important it is to address mental health as people adapt to a changing planet. Another study found that suicide rates in the US and Mexico rose along with higher average monthly temperatures.
"[The study] highlights how important mental health is as a hidden burden of not just climate change, but environmental exposures in general," Robbie Parks, a lead author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia, tells The Verge. He believes there should be more research on mental health and rising temperatures. "Our results show that there may well be something there, particularly in younger people," Parks says.
該研究的主要作者、哥倫比亞大學的博士后研究員羅比·帕克斯（Robbie Parks）對The Verge雜志說道：“（這項研究）凸顯了心理健康作為氣候變化和環境暴露的隱性負擔的重要性?！彼J為應該就精神健康和氣溫上升的關系開展更多研究。帕克斯說道：“我們的結果表明兩者之間存在一定聯系，尤其是對于年輕人而言?！?/p>