Projected Global Mortality Impacts Under High Emissions Scenario (RCP 8.5), Mean Outcome
Note: Each line represents a country or territory’s mean projected change in annual death rates due to climate change’s impact on daily temperature, compared to a future world without climate change. Bold orange line represents Pakistan during each time period. Bold purple line represents Canada during each time period.
Source: Human Climate Horizons (horizons.hdr.undp.org), UNDP/Climate Impact Lab, November 2022
Climate change will exacerbate inequalities and widen gaps in human development, according to Human Climate Horizons—a new data and insights platform launched by the EPIC-affiliated Climate Impact Lab and the United Nations Development Programme in the lead-up to COP27. The platform, designed to empower citizens and decision makers globally, shows what climate change could mean for people’s lives through changes in mortality, the ability to earn a living, and energy use. Today’s poorest countries and regions, who have less access to protective infrastructure such as air conditioning, see the greatest damages as temperatures rise, with the death rate increasing (orange) for nearly three-quarters of the world’s Least Developed Countries. Roughly a third of G20 countries see an increase, while 65 percent see improvements in the death rate due to temperature change (purple).
The differences are dramatic when comparing a poor, hot country like Pakistan to a rich, cold country like Canada. Under a very high emissions scenario, Pakistan’s death rate could increase by 189 deaths per 100,000 compared to a world without climate change. That’s three times the rate of cancer deaths in Pakistan today. Even if countries met their Paris commitments, Pakistan’s death rate could increase by nearly 62 deaths per 100,000 population by 2100—on par with strokes, Pakistan’s third leading cause of death. Compare that to Canada, which sees its death rate improve as cold winters warm up. However, geography seems not to be the defining factor. Wealthier peers who experience similar hot temperatures do not experience the same surge. For example, if Paris pledges were met, Faisalabad, Pakistan, could expect the death rate to increase by nearly 109 deaths per 100,000 by the end of the century. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—which experiences similar patterns of warming and extreme heat, but has more resources like access to electricity and health care—could expect death rates to increase by 51 deaths per 100,000 population.