The Persian Gulf region is especially vulnerable, the researchers say, because of a combination of low elevations, clear sky, an adjacent water body that increases heat absorption, and the shallowness of the Persian Gulf itself, which produces high water temperatures that lead to strong evaporation and very high humidity.

Learn more in this video from MIT:

Despite all this, the Guardian reports, “[o]il and gas rich nations in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, have frequently tried to frustrate international climate change negotiations. The Gulf, where populations are rising quickly, was hit in 2015 by one of its worst-ever heatwaves…and led to a significant number of deaths.”

Air conditioning might be able to protect people indoors and those in wealthy Gulf oil states might be able to afford it, said the scientists, but less wealthy nations like Yemen would suffer. “Under such conditions, climate change would possibly lead to premature death of the weakest—namely children and the elderly,” they said.

And as the Guardian noted in separate reporting on Monday, over-reliance on air conditioning and refrigeration comes with its own set of negative implications. “[S]ince cold is still overwhelmingly produced by burning fossil fuels,” wrote reporter Jon Henley, “emission targets agreed at next month’s international climate summit in Paris risk being blown away as governments and scientists struggle with a cruel climate-change irony: cooling makes the planet hotter.”

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