In the run up to COP26, The Lancet has published a report stating that the impacts of climate change are a “Code Red for a Healthy Future”.
The Background of the Report
The report is the latest iteration of the Lancet Countdown. This is an international collaboration that considers the impacts of climate change on health.
The report draws on a range of expertise. For example, climate scientists, economists, energy and transport experts, social and political scientists, public health experts and health professionals have all contributed to the report. These individuals come from 43 academic and UN bodies.
The latest report considers 44 indicators. The indicators were chosen through a consultation process. The open and global consultations helped identify scientifically documented connections between climate change and health. Something that is even more relevant in the face of a Covid-19 world.
The indicators are organised under five categories:
- Climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities;
- Adaptation, planning, and resilience for health;
- Mitigation actions and health co-benefits;
- Economics and finance;
- Public and political engagement.
The Findings of the Report: “Code Red for a Healthy Future”
The findings of the report carry a stark warning: a “Code Red for a Healthy Future”. The report shows that climate change and health are inextricably linked.
Some impacts are being felt already. For instance, recent extreme hot weather around the globe has caused many health issues. It has also negatively impacted the emotional and physical wellbeing of populations around the world.
Furthermore, the suitability and ability of all infectious diseases to transmit is increasing. Therefore, climate-sensitive diseases are becoming a bigger worldwide concern.
Finally, the report concludes that the world has made little progress “to protect its population from the simultaneously aggravated health impacts of climate change”.
This is worrying.
What Can Be Done?
The report recognises that “measures to curb emissions have been grossly inadequate.” Therefore, health impacts are likely to continue to worsen.
Direct action needs to be taken to help those suffering the health impacts of climate change. However, global warming itself also needs to be tackled. Climate change requires mitigation, adaptation and resilience.
However, there is hope. For example, we have confirmation that a healthy environment is a human right. Therefore, this will lead to positive changes.
You can read and learn more about climate change and health by reading the Lancet article here.
What do you think of the report? Let us know in the comments below.