New research has shed light on the alarming consequences of climate change, revealing that it may lead to global warming by the end of the century. This could result in heart attacks and heat strokes in densely populated regions, with India and the Indus Valley among the most vulnerable areas. The findings from interdisciplinary research conducted by the Penn State College of Health and Human Development, Purdue University College of Sciences, and Purdue Institute for a Sustainable Future, published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” are raising a dire warning about the impact of global warming on human health.
The Heat-Humidity Threshold
According to the research, the human body can tolerate only specific combinations of heat and humidity before experiencing severe heat-related health problems, including heat stroke or heart attacks. A rise of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, as predicted, could lead to intolerable heat for a significant population. Approximately 2.2 billion people in Pakistan and India’s Indus River Valley, 1 billion in eastern China, and 800 million in sub-Saharan Africa could be exposed to prolonged periods of extreme heat.
Impacts on Vulnerable Regions
The cities that will bear the brunt of these annual heatwaves include Delhi, Kolkata, Shanghai, Multan, Nanjing, and Wuhan. These areas comprise low and middle-income nations where many people may lack access to air-conditioners or effective ways to cool themselves. If global warming persists at 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the spiked heat could impact the Eastern Seaboard and the central region of the United States, South America, and Australia, in addition to regions mentioned earlier. The research highlights that developing nations will suffer more than developed nations, with the elderly and the ailing at the highest risk.
“The worst heat stress will occur in regions that are not wealthy and that are expected to experience rapid population growth in the coming decades,” emphasised Matthew Huber, a co-author of the research and Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University. “This is true despite the fact that these nations generate far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than wealthy nations. As a result, billions of poor people will suffer, and many could die. But wealthy nations will suffer from this heat as well, and in this interconnected world, everyone can expect to be negatively affected in some way.”
Taking Action Through CSR Initiatives
The findings of this research underscore the urgency of addressing climate change and its potential health crisis through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. CSR programs provide a unique platform for companies to take meaningful steps toward mitigating the effects of climate change and safeguarding public health.
1. Reducing Carbon Footprints: Companies can commit to reducing their carbon emissions by adopting sustainable business practices. This includes transitioning to renewable energy sources, optimizing transportation logistics, and implementing energy-efficient technologies.
2. Promoting Climate Education: CSR initiatives can support climate education programs to raise awareness about the link between climate change and health. These programs can educate the public on practical ways to adapt and mitigate the impacts of rising temperatures.
3. Supporting Vulnerable Communities: CSR efforts can focus on aiding vulnerable communities that are at the forefront of climate change. This includes providing access to cooling technologies, disaster preparedness, and healthcare support for heat-related illnesses.
4. Advocating for Policy Change: Companies can use their influence to advocate for stronger climate policies and commitments at the local, national, and global levels. Supporting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability is a critical component of CSR initiatives.
The research on the health impacts of global warming is a wake-up call that should not be ignored. It underscores the interconnectedness of the world and the shared responsibility we have to combat climate change. CSR initiatives play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges by engaging the corporate sector in sustainable practices, education, and support for vulnerable populations. As we strive to limit global warming and protect the health of people worldwide, CSR programs will be an essential part of the solution. It’s time for businesses to step up and take meaningful action to safeguard our future.