In her article for the Guardian today reporting on the latest UN Report on climate change, Suzanne Goldenburg US Environment Correspondent said :
'Pensioners left on their own during a heatwave in industrialised countries. single mothers in rural areas. workers who spend most of their days outdoors. slum dwellers in the megacities of the developing world. These are some of the vulnerable groups who will feel the brunt of climate change as its effects become more pronounced in the coming decades.'
Suzanne quoted directly from the Report :
'People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalised are especially vulnerable to climate change.'
Marginalised and left on their own, many old men and women living in Britain certainly fulfil these criteria. In a post during the heatwave last July entitled : Britain is no country for hot old men in a heatwave, I quoted Professor Ben Armstrong, an epidemiological statistician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said:
“Our previous studies have shown that as temperatures rise above a certain threshold, the risk of death increases. Using the same model, we estimate that the current heatwave has caused the premature deaths of 650 people. The excess is likely to have been overwhelmingly among the elderly, especially those over 75, some of which may have been among people who would have died just a few weeks later if there had been no heatwave.”
It is certain that old men and women will die in the heat in Britain in larger and larger numbers, the more so now that Government financial cuts dictate that 250,000 of them are no longer receiving care and support in their own homes :
Question : Why will an excessive numbe of old men die in increasingly frequent heatwaves in Britain ?
Answer : Because they :
* won't drink enough to keep their bodies hydrated.
* will close the widows to protect themselves from burglars.
* with air conditioning, will get cold and then turn up the thermostat to get warm.