At 11 or 12 degrees [Fahrenheit] of [global] warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat. Things almost certainly won’t get that hot this century, though models of unabated emissions do bring us that far eventually.
That implies one of two things: A lot of migration or a lot fewer people. This second thought is suggested in the observation above, but few people want to come out and say it: What we are doing to the climate, to the air, to the water and to the soil, and thus to ourselves, on our current trajectory implies a dramatic decline in human population as multiple crises converge and our ability to cope with them dwindles.
As it turns out, the number of 90-degree days in Washington’s summers has been on a steady rise. And even though the record for the longest streak of days with temperatures reaching above 90 wasn’t broken this time—only 20 days in a row instead of 21—those 90-degree days are coming sooner in the season, and there are more of them.
“Okay, so it’s hot,” you may say. “We’ll live. We’ll live by staying indoors in the air-conditioning, by drinking more water, by taking more cold showers, by simply taking it easy in the hot temperatures of midday, right?”
I was in the great heat wave which hit Chicago in July 1995. I was staying with friends whose second-floor apartment had no air-conditioning. None of us believed air-conditioning was particularly healthy for humans and generally avoided it. We were all quite a bit younger, of course, and so held up quite well the first three days since we had all already adapted to summer temperatures by forgoing air-conditioning.
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