Climate change also threatens the health

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Our dependence on coal, gas, and oil is accelerating the climate crisis and exacerbating the health consequences associated with global warming, air pollution, and extreme weather events. That’s the stark warning of the “Countdown 2022” report in the medical journal The Lancet. But the authors also stress that it is not too late to prevent a further increase in climate change-related deaths and illnesses.

“The climate crisis is killing us”: in light of the seventh annual report of the “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres found clear words. He said the crisis is undermining not only our planet’s health but also people’s health worldwide: “Through toxic air pollution, ever-decreasing food security, higher risks of infectious disease outbreaks, extreme heat, drought, floods, and more.” Indeed, the report, published in 2015, paints a grim picture of the health consequences of climate change, which would be further exacerbated by continued reliance on fossil fuels.

The report, which 99 experts compiled from 51 institutions and UN agencies, sees an immediate threat from climate change in global food security. According to an analysis of 103 countries, days of extreme heat are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change. As a result, the number of people experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity there in 2020 was 98 million higher than the average from 1981 to 2010, it said, adding that from 2012 to 2021, the annual global land area affected by extreme drought was also 29 percent larger on average than from 1951 to 1960.

However, the report also sees glimmers of hope: although renewable energy generation is still insufficient, it reached a record level in 2020. In parallel, investment in power generation methods using non-carbon sources has increased. Overall, it is not too late to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis on global health.

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