New Report Details Health Effects of Climate Change
A new report last week from The Lancet Countdown detailed direct health effects of climate change. The Lancet Countdown, a public health journal, drew from 24 other reports to warn of health risks from climate change, many of which have already taken effect.
The report outlines that although the mean global temperature increase from 1986 to 2005 was 0.3° Celsius, areas with human population saw a 0.8° Celsius increase in temperature during the same period. Further, 157 million more people were exposed to heatwaves in 2017 compared to 1990. The report estimates that in 2017, a total of 153 billion hours of labor were lost to extreme heat, 62 million more than in 2000.
The report adds that climate change is spreading dengue fever and malignant skin melanoma more rapidly, increasing mortality rates in regions most susceptible to both diseases. This comes even as advancements in medicine and health infrastructure have decreased overall mortality in Africa and Southeast Asia - including deaths from malaria and diarrhoeal diseases.
The Lancet report also details other effects of climate change, from crop yields to migration. 30 countries are currently experiencing a downward trend in crop yields, reversing a decade-long trend in global improvement of yields. Additionally, climate change is the sole contributing factor for thousands of people deciding to migrate, and a contributing factor for many more migrants.
The report moves on to assess how governments are adapting to climate change, and finds that 51% of cities that have assessed climate change risk are expecting climate change to seriously compromise their public health infrastructure.
Every region has to assess different risks resulting from climate change, and government reports from the state of California and the city of New York have assessed health risks tailored to their geography and population.
As regional governments scramble to plan and adapt for the unforeseen effects of climate change, the Lancet report urges governments to cut down on carbon emissions as soon as possible to mitigate further effects of climate change in the coming decades.