Cook County morgue workers walk between a row of refrigerated trucks outside the morgue in July 1995, when a deadly heat wave struck Chicago.
When Heat Kills: Global Warming As Public Health Threat
The current poster child for global warming is a polar bear, sitting on a melting iceberg. Some health officials argue the symbol should, instead, be a child.
That’s because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it’s portrayed as a health issue rather than as an environmental problem.
Epidemiologist George Luber at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most obvious risk from a warming world is killer heat. A deadly heat wave that struck Chicago in 1995 made many people aware of how disastrous sustained high temperatures can be.
About 750 people died from the heat in Chicago, “and that was amplified by the European heat wave of 2003, where we had over 70,000 excess deaths attributable to the heat wave,” he says.