Barcelona – Although the average temperature in Spain has increased since 1980, heat-related mortality has decreased, as reported in a study in Lancet Planetary Health (2019; doi: 10.1016 / S2542-5196 (19) 30090) -7).
In Spain, the population every year suffers from the high temperatures that often exceed 25 ° C and sometimes even 30 ° C from June to September. This led to an increase in cardiovascular deaths during the summer months, even before climate change. Even the colder winter temperatures led to an increase, as many homes do not have any heating.
Heat and cold primarily affect cardiovascular and cardiac death, which in Spain accounts for 38% of all deaths. One team led by Joan Ballester from the Institut de Salut Global in Barcelona has calculated from the death statistics and weather data that the temperature with the lowest cardiovascular and mortality rates during the period 1
At present, the population manages to avoid deaths caused by higher temperatures better than three decades ago. Ballester even estimates a reduction of 42% of cardiovascular disease between 1980/1994 and 2002/16 and 37% in women. At the same time, the proportion of cold-related cardiovascular deaths in men has decreased by 30 percent and in women by 45 percent.
Since human biology has not changed, the decline must have other causes. The study has not investigated this. But Ballester points out that per capita income has increased from EUR 8,700 to EUR 22,880 per year during the period.
Household per capita costs increased from 605 to 2 182 euros between 1991 and 2009. The share of central heating households increased from 25.8% to 56.9% between 1991 and 2011, while households' share of air conditioning increased from 4.16% in 1991 to 35.5% in 2008.  This suggests that increasing prosperity (despite the temporary economic crises) has led to the population today being able to better protect itself from heat and cold and to become better medically treated in case of illness. What is ignored is the fact that the operation of heating systems and air conditioning systems through the use of fossil fuels continues to drive climate change. The study was funded by CaixaBank, Spain's leading retail bank. © rme / aerzteblatt.de