Summary of “Heat: the next big inequality issue”

While the well-heeled residents of Montreal hunkered down in blissfully air conditioned offices and houses, the city’s homeless population – not usually welcome in public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants – struggled to escape the blanket of heat.
Last year, Hawaiian researchers projected that the share of the world’s population exposed to deadly heat for at least 20 days a year will increase from 30% now to 74% by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to grow.
“Urban heat islands, combined with an ageing population and increased urbanisation, are projected to increase the vulnerability of urban populations, especially the poor, to heat-related health impacts in the future,” a US government assessment warned.
Even this year, 65 people have perished from nearly 44C heat in Karachi, Pakistan – a city used to extreme heat.
In Cambodia, which has seen devastating heatwaves and drought in recent years, surviving the heat is as much a question of status for prisoners as it is for civilians.
The US researchers who in 2013 uncovered the racial divide in urban heat vulnerability discovered that the more segregated a city was, the hotter it was for everyone.
Researchers recommended planting more trees and increasing light-coloured surfaces to reduce the overall heat island effect, adding that urban planning to mitigate future extreme heat “Should proactively incorporate an environmental justice perspective and address racial/ethnic disparities”.
Montreal first implemented a similar heat action plan in 2004, reducing mortality on hot days by 2.52 deaths per day, but as the heat waves intensify, it is likely that this will need to be reassessed.

The orginal article.