Almost 14,000 people could die due to higher temperatures in the last decade of this century

By Leanne Dempsey Heart News   |   10th Jul 2024

Stark new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has revealed that rising temperatures, due to climate change, will increase emergency inpatient hospitalisations during summer months in Ireland by 9.4% from 2021 to 2040.

The report, Health Impacts of Climate Change and Mitigation Policies in Ireland, commissioned and funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation on behalf of the Climate and Health Alliance, underscores the devasting impact that climate change will have on the health of people living in Ireland.

While the findings show that increased temperatures in Ireland will have a direct impact on higher hospital admissions, it is the most vulnerable in society, including children and those with chronic diseases, who will be most affected. The research also highlights that climate change will lead to increases in cardiovascular distress, and some cancers including skin and lung, amongst other illnesses.

The research predicts that 1,730 people could die over a ten-year period from 2030 to 2039 due to higher temperatures, and 13,990 could die between 2090 to 2099.

The Climate and Health Alliance is urging Government to introduce bold measures to combat the impact of climate change on the nation’s health and the already stretched healthcare system. These include delivering clean air for all, sustainable communities built on active travel, and a resilient, environmentally sustainable healthcare sector.

Emma Balmaine, CEO, Irish Heart Foundation said: “These stark new findings reveal that even in a moderate climate like Ireland, rising temperatures from climate change will lead to a substantial increase in hospitalisations.

"Worryingly, the most vulnerable in our society, including those with cardiovascular disease and children, will be most impacted by rising temperatures.

Emma Balmaine, CEO, Irish Heart Foundation

“To protect public health, it is vital that we invest in our healthcare system to ensure its resiliency and adopt immediate measures to transition to a more environmentally sustainable society”.

Averil Power, CEO, Irish Cancer Society said: “We need to see bold action from the government to prevent the very serious impact climate change will have on healthcare in Ireland in the coming years. Issues like rising temperatures and air pollution have a very real impact on people’s health and can cause an array of health issues, including cancer.

“This report also shows how our healthcare system is vulnerable to the harshest impacts of climate change. We’ve highlighted time and time again the many issues that already exist due to an overburdened and under-resourced health system. Already people are waiting for appointments, surgeries and cancer care. We’re now in a race against time to put proper mitigation plans in place to cut climate change and to implement effective strategies to ensure Ireland has a resilient, fully staffed and future-proofed health system.”

Despite concern about the impact of climate change on health, limited information exists on the impact climate change and temperature increases will have on health in Ireland, until now. The report examines the relationship between health and climate change, and highlights action-oriented solutions which will help secure the future of health in Ireland.

Report Briefing Document

This briefing document by the Climate and Health Alliance provides a summary of the key findings.

Learn More

Download the full report

Health Impacts of Climate Change and Mitigation Policies in Ireland. This comprehensive report compiled by the ESRI looks at the relationship between health and climate change.

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