Climate change and the bleak prognosis for human health

(Eco Business, 18 Nov 2019) The benefits to global health of slashing carbon emissions would be vast, finds Lancet report.

“The life of every child born today will be profoundly affected by climate change,” according to a new report in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet. 

Our heating planet is an increasing danger to health because it brings with it more heatwaves, wildfires, food insecurity and disease. Without a much faster response, climate change “will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives.”

The bleak prognosis for global health is offered by the third annual report of the Lancet Countdown – a research collaboration between 35 leading institutions including the World Health Organisation, Yale and Tsinghua universities. At the same time, the report makes a powerful case for curbing fossil fuel use to reap large health rewards.

At the moment, humanity consumes 171,000 kilogrammes of coal, 12 million litres of gas and 186,000 litres of oil every second. And, as the authors state: “Progress in mitigation and adaptation remains insufficient, with the carbon intensity of the energy system remaining flat.”

Heatwaves and wildfires

As the world heats its weather becomes more extreme. This was foreshadowed by the heatwaves that baked the northern hemisphere in 2018 and 2019.

“Vulnerability to extremes of heat in China is high and rising dramatically, with almost a third of over 65s now at risk of heat exposure – a 25 per cent increase since 1990,” said report co-author Dr Wenjia Cai of Tsinghua University.

External link

Eco Business, 18 Nov 2019: Climate change and the bleak prognosis for human health