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Environmental Law

Disaster

Columbia Law School

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Heat Waves: Legal Adaptation To The Most Lethal Climate Disaster (So Far), Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2018

Heat Waves: Legal Adaptation To The Most Lethal Climate Disaster (So Far), Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The worst heatwave in modern history occurred in Russia in 2010; its rare combination of extreme temperatures and long duration killed an estimated 55,000 people. Under an RCP 8.5 scenario, comparable heat waves could occur every two years in the eastern United States by the end of the century, and by then in Europe, the legendary heat wave of 2003 “would be classed as an anomalously cold summer relative to the new climate.” These increased temperatures and heat waves are not just occurring randomly. The science is clear that human activities – mostly greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation – are ...