Heatwave frequency rises twice as fast in the poorest countries
New research proves that the countries least responsible for global warming, those least able to adapt, have already been hit much harder by
Publisher: Climate & Capitalism
Date Written: 08/03/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20551
A feature of most statements about climate change is the use of the future tense: the poorest countries will be worse-hit than the rich ones. But new research shows that the predicted unequal climate future has actually been with us for decades. The poorest countries have already experienced twice as great an increase in extreme temperatures as the rich ones, and the gap has been widening for more than thirty years.
A study published last week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, compares the number of extremely hot days and nights in high- and low-income countries, showing how the frequency has changed since the period 1961-1990. In poor countries, there were 37 hot days a year before 1980: by 2010 that figure more than doubled, to 80 a year. In rich countries the number of hot days rose from 37 days a year to 55. The figures are similar for hot nights. As the report says, "low income countries have experienced more than twice the increase in the number of hot days occurring each year compared to high income countries."