Climate Change Causes Serious Threat to World Health

Study: climate change poses a real threat to world health
Many of us know the damage that the human desire for fossil fuels and transport is having on the world. But not so many have thought beyond that to the realities of living in a world desiccated by our continued poor treatment of the planet. This week, the United Nations (UN) presented a sobering, but not unexpected, report which details the effects climate change will have not just on the earth itself, but on the population’s health.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum is head of the Climate Change Team at the World Health Organization, and he’s warned that, “Climate change is no longer only an environmental issue.” The problem is rising temperatures will spread disease and weather extremes will claim thousands of lives in both developing countries and in urban centers.

On top of his duties in the Climate Change Team, Campbell-Lendrum also wrote the health chapter in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. His feedback to the media is bleak, saying “If we don’t act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions we’ll be living on a planet which is basically in many important respects unsuitable, in many locations, for health.”

Specifically, resources like clean air and safe drinking water will become scarce. The increase in temperature will mean more mosquitoes to spread diseases like Malaria and Dengue Fever. If nothing changes before then, the number of people affected could be as many as a quarter of a million between 2030 and 2050.

Malnutrition will be large cause of that death. Currently 3.1 million people a year are dying of malnutrition, and that figure will rise by 95,000. This will be caused by the onset of more extreme droughts that come with increasing frequency and duration, and cause water shortages, which will severely affect agricultural production.

The IPCC report is a combination of three previous documents, and is set to have a final section released in October after a conference between Scientists and Government officials. Science Recorder paints a bleak picture of the contents of the report saying, “The report pulls no punches on just what could face humankind should we continue on our present course. Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

If governments don’t take serious actions to begin restricting industry practices as they currently stand, the world temperature will increase by 6.7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.7 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century. This will have catastrophic effects. A professor at Pennsylvania State University, Michael Mann, made comment on this to the associated press, “The report tells us once again what we know with a greater degree of certainty: that climate change is real, it is caused by us, and it is already causing substantial damage to us and our environment, if there is one take home point of this report it is this: We have to act now.”

(Photo courtesy of Andrew)

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