By Milton Bosch, Napa Valley Register.
This summer, we’ve been hearing a lot about climate change. In July, the Pope reminded us that preserving the climate is a moral issue with outsized impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. In August, President Obama unveiled the federal Clean Energy Plan, calling on us all to do better in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Napa, the historic drought and punishing fire season have reminded us all what a hotter, drier climate could look like.
One dimension of the climate crisis is a little less obvious: public health. Rising temperatures are placing a heavy burden on the sick, the very young, and the very old, where punishing heat waves can kill tens of thousands as happened in 2003 in Europe. The death toll is estimated at 70,000, with France hit particularly hard.