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More than a billion people are at risk from a lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and preserve food and medicine as global warming brings more high temperatures, a study showed on Monday.
According to Reuters, more demand for fridges, fans and other appliances will add to man-made climate change unless power generators shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies, according to the report by the non-profit Sustainable Energy for All group.
About 1.1 billion people in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with 470 million of them in rural areas and 630 million slum dwellers in cities were at risk among the world’s 7.6 billion people, it said.
Rachel Kyte, head of the group and special representative for the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, told Reuters: “Cooling becomes more and more important” with climate change.
In a survey of 52 countries, those most at risk included India, China, Mozambique, Sudan, Nigeria, Brazil, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
“We have to provide cooling in a super-efficient way. Companies could find big markets, for instance by developing low-cost, high-efficiency air conditioners to sell to growing middle classes in tropical countries,” Kyte noted.
And simpler solutions, such as painting roofs white to reflect sunlight or redesigning buildings to allow heat to escape, would also help.
The UN’s health agency said that heat stress linked to climate change is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.
In a heat-wave in May, more than 60 people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius.
The study reported that in remote areas in tropical countries, many people lack electricity and clinics are often unable to store vaccines or medicines that need to be chilled.
In city slums, electricity supplies are often intermittent.
Many farmers or fishermen, meanwhile, lack access to the important cooling methods to preserve and transport products to markets.
This article has been adapted from its original source.