Impact of population aging on future temperature-related mortality at different global warming levels


Older adults are generally amongst the most vulnerable to heat and cold. While temperature-related health impacts are projected to increase with global warming, the influence of population aging on these trends remains unclear. Here we show that at 1.5°C, 2°C, and 3°C of global warming, heat-related mortality in 800 locations across 50 countries/areas will increase by 0.5%, 1.0%, and 2.5%, respectively; among which 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 heat-related deaths can be attributed to population aging. Despite a projected decrease in cold-related mortality due to progressive warming alone, population aging will mostly counteract this trend, leading to a net increase in cold-related mortality by 0.1%–0.4% at 1.5–3°C global warming. Our findings indicate that population aging constitutes a crucial driver for future heat- and cold-related deaths, with increasing mortality burden for both heat and cold due to the aging population.

Nat Commun, 15:1796