A new report by The Lancet says that climate change may undermine the last half-century of health gains. However, the study adds that addressing this issue is one of the best opportunities to improve health in the 21st century.
The report outlines the specific threats climate change poses to human health. Direct threats include heat stress, floods, droughts, and increased frequency of intense storms, while indirect dangers include adverse changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement, and mental illness.
The Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change outlines measures that countries need to take in order to tackle climate change and prevent such devastation. These recommendations include:
- Scaling up financing for climate-resilient health systems worldwide
- Ensuring a rapid phase out of coal from the global energy mix
- Encouraging a transition to cities that support and promote healthy lifestyles for the individual and the planet
- Establishing the framework for a strong, predictable, and international carbon pricing mechanism
- Rapidly expanding access to renewable energy in low-income and middle-income countries
- Ensuring adequate local capacity and political support to develop low-carbon healthy energy choices
- Adopting mechanisms to facilitate collaboration between Ministries of Health and other government departments and empowering health professionals
- Agreeing and implementing an international agreement which supports countries in transitioning to a low-carbon economy
- Investing in climate change and public health research