Berlin (dpa) - Model calculations by researchers show that the number of heat deaths in this country is far ahead in a global comparison.
The reason is the increase in hot days per year in combination with the increasing proportion of the population over 65 years, they write in the journal "The Lancet".
They determined around 20,200 deaths in Germany over 65 years in connection with heat in 2018.
Only the two most populous countries in the world, each with around 1.4 billion inhabitants, were even higher in the calculation model in terms of pure numbers: China with 62,000 and India with 31,000 heat deaths.
In the calculation, the researchers included the daily maximum temperature, the percentage of people over 65 and the risk of death in this age group from heat.
Looking at the mean values of previous years, the value for Germany is a significant increase.
In the years 2014 to 2018, the number of heat deaths using this method in this country was an average of 12,080.
And that was already 3,640 heat deaths more than the average between 2000 and 2004.
The fact that many people in Germany live in cities is not factored in, it said.
Large cities sometimes heat up even more than the values with which the model calculation works - especially at night.
In addition, there is the risk that new infections could emerge from the heat.
These included, for example, tropical diseases that can be transmitted by certain mosquito species if they survive in Germany.
Even if no domestic dengue fever infection has yet been registered in this country, there is an increase in climatic possibilities of almost 120 percent when comparing the periods from 1950 to 1954 and 2014 to 2018.
On the other hand, the risk of dying prematurely from air pollution in Germany has decreased slightly, according to the study.
In 2015, an estimated 9280 people died earlier in Germany as a result of coal burning, and an estimated 8,140 in 2018.
These results are part of the study “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change 2020”, in which 120 international researchers, with the participation of the World Health Organization and the World Bank, think about the connections between climate change and health.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201203-99-551488 / 2