Heatwaves have become extreme in most of Asia causing more heat-related deaths and is a major point in a story in The South China Morning Post by EDUARD FERNÁNDEZ. Scorching temperatures were cited in Hong Kong, the Philippines, The Korean peninsula, Japan, Mongolia in northern China. Scorching temperatures across Asia were repeatedly blamed on climate change causing heatwave-related deaths in Japan at more than 2,000 per year. The Japan Meteorological Agency recently reported that the mercury hit 41.1 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) in Kumagaya, a city about 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Tokyo. The Associated Press reported last month that not only Japan had record breaking temperatures but so did South and North Korea. “Climate change has played an important role in the occurrence of heatwaves,” said Fu Cheung Sham, chief experimental officer at the Hong Kong Observatory. “As [the] climate warms, the chances of extreme heat will correspondingly increase.” In all stories and studies a strong connection between the heat waves, climate change and carbon emissions was made clear. A recent study in the journal PLOS Medicine described how the increase in frequency and severity of heatwaves would trigger a dramatic spike in heat-related deaths globally, if carbon emissions are not scaled back. This heat trend paints a dire picture. The World Health Organization estimates that by the 2030s heat-related deaths in the Asia-Pacific’s high income countries may rise by 1,488, and by more than 21,000 across the entire Asian continent. On a global scale, rising temperatures are expected to cause around 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2060, through heat exposure, tropical disease, undernutrition and diarrhea. Supporting that research is a study by the World Bank, that says cutting carbon emissions is mandatory in order to prevent more than half of South Asia from becoming “hotspots” by 2050, the projected year when living standards will dramatically decline.
According to a study by the World Bank, cutting carbon emissions must happen to prevent more than half of South Asia from becoming “hotspots” by 2050, the projected year when living standards will dramatically decline. Ultimately, the South China Morning Post story was graced with a drop of hope where the extreme heat wave and other weather events are acting as a wake up call to keeping temperatures below 2 degrees, the main goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement. If the goal can’t be reached, researchers admit that we will see “unprecedented heat extremes recurring every year in many Asian countries, and stronger typhoons and rising sea levels threatening many of Asia’s river basins and Pacific islands.”