On this week’s episode of Lever Time, David Sirota is joined by Jeff Goodell, author of the new book The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet, to discuss recent deadly heat waves and how they’re a prelude to dangers to come.
A rough transcript of the episode is available here.
This past July was the hottest single month in recorded history. In the United States, temperatures rose above 120 degrees in several regions of the country, and ocean temperatures in parts of Florida reached 101 degrees, potentially shattering the world record for ocean heat.
It’s not just the temperature that’s rising. Over the past few months, there has also been an increase in heat-related deaths and hospitalizations, including for life-threatening burns people have suffered from falling onto scorching concrete.
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Heat is the deadliest type of weather, each year killing on average more than twice as many people as tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Of course, the groups that most acutely suffer from extreme heat events tend to be the most vulnerable, like unhoused people, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
To examine these problems, Sirota sits down with Goodell, a climate journalist and bestselling author. Together they break down which regions of the country will experience the most severe heat in the future, the limitations of air conditioning as a potential solution, our new geologic era, and how our concept of summer is set to drastically change from fun to survival.
- The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet (Hachette Books, 2023)
- The Anthropocene began in 1950s, scientists say (NPR, 2023)
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