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Climate Change-Related Heat Waves Are A Major Threat To Public Health

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This show originally aired on July 26, 2021.

Heat waves are to blame for more deaths in the U.S. than any other type of severe weather, and they're becoming more frequent and unpredictable due to humans-driven climate alterations.

Since 1979, more than 11,000 people across the country have been killed by extreme heat. Hundreds died in a recent Pacific Northwest heat wave.

Why are heat waves getting worse? What does climate modeling tell us about heat and humidity conditions in years to come, if they continue on the current trajectory? Can anything be done to reverse these dangerous trends?

Why is extreme heat so deadly? What are the physical and mental health risks? Which populations and parts of the country are most affected?

How can we mitigate the threat of climate-related heat waves? What can be done to help vulnerable cities and communities stay cool?

Do increasingly severe heat waves indicate of a tipping point in the global climate? When will heat and humidity reach the limit of human tolerance?

Project Cool is a program that provides free 20-inch box fans to older adults in an effort to provide heat relief and prevent heat-related illness during the hot summer months in San Antonio. Click here for more information.


  • Dev Niyogi, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Kristie Ebi, Ph.D., MPH, epidemiologist and director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, and Rohm & Haas Endowed Professor in Public Health Sciences at the University of Washington
  • Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD, director of the Master of Bioethics Program and associate director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, July 26.

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