Human Health and Premature Death Influenced by Global Warming

Nature

Two reports have been published by doctors pointing to climate change being the culprit in many illnesses and premature death, detailing the influence of global warming on human health.

Comprehensive report

World Meteorological Organization researchers published a report which showed the effect of the warmest decade on the health of millions of people, as they experienced extreme heat, wildfires, and floods this year, not to mention the coronavirus pandemic.

An analysis was published last Wednesday in the Lancet, which focused on health data in 2019 up to the present. It found that air pollution, extreme weather, and heat waves increasingly damage our health.

The report has been the most comprehensive yet regarding health and the climate. It involved dozens of international public health experts and physicians.

The report did not dwell on death and disease from the burning of fossil fuels. According to the study authors, many policies and practices that are carbon-intensive cause poor food and air quality as well as poor housing, disproportionately harming vulnerable and disadvantaged human populations.

Action Against Climate Change Urged by Doctors, Citing Influence of Global Warming on Human Health and Premature Death

(Photo: Pixabay)
Two reports have been published by doctors pointing to climate change being the culprit in many illnesses and premature death, detailing the influence of global warming on human health.

READ: Using the Ocean to Improve Food Security, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and the Economy

Call to action from health professionals

According to lead author and Massachusetts General Hospital ER doctor Renee Salas, governments supporting public health should stop supporting and financing the industry of fossil fuels.

According to Salas, it is something from the past that should not be invested in any longer, as it actually subsidizes harm to our health. Fossil fuel burning causes both air pollution and climate change.

Deaths due to climate change

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, delivered a speech regarding climate change last Wednesday, in which he implored world leaders to drastically reduce the production of fossil fuels.

He said that we are waging war against nature, which is suicidal. He said that each city, company, country, and financial institution must eventually transition into net-zero emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases by the year 2050.

According to the most updated data on greenhouse gas emissions, the lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic did nothing to significantly lower carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere.

READ ALSO: Risk of Coastal Flooding on Low-Cost Housing Triples by 2050

Effects of heatwaves

More frequent, longer, and more intense heatwaves are among the effects of climate change, with older people being at risk the most. According to the report, in the last two decades, people above 65 who died from extreme heat increased by over 50 percent.

A minimum of 296,000 people has already perished from the heat last 2018.

It is in the northern hemisphere where heatwaves are deadlier, as reported by the study authors. In the past two decades, the US had twice the number of deaths from the heat in the population above 65, numbering almost 20,000.

People working outdoors, athlete students, and the poor are also especially vulnerable.

The threat to health infrastructure

The study also noted that climate change threatens public health infrastructure, including hospitals, emergency services, and primary care facilities. Climate change is expected to compromise this infrastructure seriously.

Regardless of the disasters caused by climate change, American Public Health Association executive director Dr. Georges Benjamin, along with other doctors, says that deleterious effects on human health such as premature death caused by climate change and global warming are preventable, and we do not have to live in this manner. 

READ NEXT: Animals Can Surprisingly Adapt to Increased Temperatures in Climate Change

Check out for more news and information on Climate Change on Nature World News.

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