Modeling has revealed that if a city's vegetation cover could reach 30% of its surface, compared to an average of 14,9% currently, it would reduce the temperature by an average of 0,4 degrees Celsius during summer heat waves , reports a study published in The Lancet.
Of the 6.700 premature deaths attributed to warming temperatures in 93 European cities in 2015, the results show that a third could thus be avoided.
This study is the first to predict, in the context of global warming in cities, the number of premature deaths that could be avoided by additional tree cover, underlined the lead author, Tamara Iungman, researcher at the Institute of Health world of Barcelona.
Temperatures in cities are higher than in surrounding suburbs or countryside, due to heat islands.
This difference in temperature is mainly due to the removal of vegetation, heat removal from air conditioning systems, and asphalt and dark-colored building materials that absorb and retain heat.
“We already know that high temperatures in urban environments are associated with negative health outcomes, such as cardiorespiratory failure, increased hospital admissions and premature deaths,” Ms Iungman said in a statement. communicated.
"Our goal is to inform local policies and decision makers about the benefits of strategically integrating green infrastructure into urban planning to promote more sustainable, resilient and healthy urban environments."
Due to human-caused global warming, temperature increases in cities will be more intense hence the increasingly urgent need for cities to adapt to improve health outcomes.
Already last year, Europe experienced the hottest summer on record and the second hottest year. Worldwide, heat waves are reaching record highs and their duration has been getting longer in recent decades.
Today, the cold causes even more deaths in Europe than the heat. But forecasts based on current emissions reveal that heat-related illnesses and deaths will place a greater burden on health services within a decade.