Since 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States, it's fortunate we humans are so good at adapting to changing environments. We are already adapting to global warming, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research analysis. The NBER study examines mortality rates associated with hot days (defined as a temperature exceeding 90 degrees) and finds a sharp decline in heat-related mortality rates over the past century.
Between 1960 and 2004, hot days resulted in about 600 premature deaths per year in the United States, much less than the 3,600 deaths that would have occurred given the heat-related mortality rates of the 1900-1959 time period. Only one thing explains the decline, say the researchers: air conditioning, a technological adaptation that will help "mitigate the temperature related mortality impact of climate change."
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S> Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century, NBER Working Paper 18692, ($5)