US Sets Record for Heat-Related Deaths

US Heat-Related Deaths Broke Records Last Year. Will 2024 Break More?

The United States set a record for heat-related deaths in 2023. As record-breaking heat waves continue, 2024 could be even worse.

According to an Associated Press (AP) data analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death certificates of more than 2,300 people in the U.S. last summer mention the effects of excessive heat, the highest number in 45 years of records. The AP notes record-breaking heat waves in May indicate that 2024 could be even deadlier. 

“We can be confident saying that 2023 was the worst year we’ve had since … we’ve started having reliable reporting on that,” said Dr. John Balbus, director of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

This stark evidence of the already severe human impacts of climate change should ring alarms during an election year in which the contrast between the major presidential candidates on climate action is the most dramatic in history. 

Contrast Between Presidential Candidates

That contrast was on display again last week as the Biden-Harris Administration finalized new, tougher standards for motor vehicle fuel economy, while former president Donald Trump was out begging for oil industry campaign contributions. 

“We applaud the Biden-Harris administration and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for their quick work to finalize these rules, which will help to create healthier communities and save families hundreds of dollars on fueling up. Fuel economy standards over the decades have successfully saved consumers money at the pump, reduced oil use, increased our energy security, and protected our health,” said League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Government Affairs Advocate on Climate Change and Clean Energy, Darien Davis. “These standards, paired with critical clean energy and infrastructure investments, will ultimately help to reduce vehicle pollution while protecting consumers wallets from Big Oil’s price gouging. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to continue building a clean energy economy that protects our planet and our communities.”

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