World / Science & Health

Urban poor seen getting hit hardest as the planet heats up

AP

Rising temperatures from a warming Earth will hit poor people living in cities harder than their wealthier neighbors.

That was the finding of a joint investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland and NPR that examined life in urban heat islands.

In Baltimore, the temperature in the hottest neighborhood could be 10 degrees higher than in the coolest. And the hottest areas were typically also among the poorest. The same pattern appeared in a significant majority of 96 of the country’s other biggest cities.

Extreme heat makes health problems that affect the lungs, heart and kidneys more dangerous and caused emergency medical service calls in Baltimore to spike in heat waves, the investigation found. Residents there also died in disproportionate numbers.

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