Health problems tied to climate change rising around the world: Reports
Health problems tied to climate change are all getting worse, according to two reports published Wednesday.
The annual reports commissioned by the medical journal Lancet tracked 44 global health indicators connected to climate change, including heat deaths, infectious diseases and hunger.
All of them are getting grimmer, said Lancet Countdown project research director Marina Romanello, a biochemist.
“Rising temperatures are having consequences,” said University of Washington environmental health professor Kristie Ebi, a report co-author.
This year’s reports highlight dangerous trends:
Vulnerable populations — older people and very young — were subject to more time with dangerous heat last year. For people over 65, the researchers calculated there were 3 billion more “person-day” exposures to extreme heat than the average from 1986 to 2005.
More people were in places where climate-sensitive diseases can flourish. Coastline areas warm enough for the nasty Vibrio bacteria increased in the Baltics, the U.S. Northeast and the Pacific Northwest in the past decade. In some poorer nations, the season for malaria-spreading mosquitoes has expanded since the 1950s.
In the U.S., heat, fire and drought caused the biggest problems. An unprecedented Pacific Northwest and Canadian heat wave hit this summer, which a previous study showed couldn't have happened without human-caused climate change.
“Climate change is first and foremost a health crisis unfolding across the U.S.,” said Dr. Renee Salas, a co-author of the report.
George Washington University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Lynn Goldman, who was not part of the project, said health problems from climate change “are continuing to worsen far more rapidly than would have been projected only a few years ago.”
Global warming threatens more than 100 million people in Africa: UN
A UN report warned on Tuesday that over 100 million people in Africa are threatened by accelerating global warming due to climate change that could also melt away the continent's few glaciers within two decades.
The latest report on the state of Africa's climate by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and African Union agencies paints a dire picture of the continent's ability to adapt to increasingly frequent weather disasters.
"By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa, if adequate response measures are not put in place," said Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture at the African Union Commission.