Killer Summer Heat: Projected Death Toll from Rising Temperatures in America Due to Climate Change

Issue Brief
May 30, 2012

This report analyzes the results of independent peer-reviewed scientific papers and presents the findings of increasing heat-related mortality due to global warming for the 40 largest U.S. cities. The conclusions were reached by determining the sensitivity of the populations of each city to extreme heat events and then applying that sensitivity to a projection for midcentury and end-of-century climate conditions.

Our findings indicate that rising temperatures driven by unabated climate change will increase the number of life-threatening excessive heat events, resulting in thousands of additional heat-related premature deaths each year, with a cumulative toll of approximately 33,000 additional heat-related deaths by midcentury in these cities, and more than 150,000 additional heat-related deaths by the century’s end.