Climate Change And Global Health : Lancet Countdown Report
According to the Lancet Countdown report on Health and Climate Change: Health at the Mercy of Fossil Fuels, reliance on fossil fuels is increasing the risk of disease, food insecurity and other illnesses related to heat.
Findings of the Report:
- Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health — clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
- Rapidly increasing temperatures exposed people, especially vulnerable populations (adults above 65 years old and children younger than one) to 3.7 billion more heatwave days in 2021 than annually in 1986–2005.
- The changing climate is affecting the spread of infectious disease, raising the risk of emerging diseases and co-epidemics.
- For instance, it records that coastal waters are becoming more suited for the transmission of Vibrio pathogens.
- The number of months suitable for malaria transmission has increased in the highland areas of the Americas and Africa.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 2,50,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
- Every dimension of food security is being affected by climate change.
- Higher temperatures threaten crop yields directly, with the growth season shortening for many cereal crops.
- Extreme weather events disrupt supply chains, thereby undermining food availability, access, stability, and utilisation.
- The prevalence of undernourishment increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, and up to 161 million more people face hunger in 2020 than in 2019.
- This situation is now worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The Russia-Ukraine war has led many countries to search for alternative fuels to Russian oil and gas, and some of them are still turning back to traditional thermal energy.
- Even if it were a temporary transition, renewed interest in coal could reverse gains in air quality and accelerate climate change that threatens human survival.