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Climate Change Is Century's Biggest Opportunity to Improve Global Health, Say Experts

David Kirby - TakePart
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June 24, 2015

Climate Change: Our greatest health threat, or our greatest opportunity for better health? (Global Climate and Health Alliance)

A new report has ditched the gloom-and-doom predictions about climate change in favor of a refreshingly positive message: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will make us healthier and save us a lot of money.

“Tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century,” concludes the report, released on Tuesday by the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change. It details the direct - and sometimes surprisingly indirect - effects of climate change, and how taking action to blunt those effects would help sustain and significantly improve human health.

The world must take immediate action to slash carbon pollution, the report stated, to keep the temperature gain between now and 2100 to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the current rate of global carbon emissions, average temperatures will rise by as much as 4.7 to 8.6 F. by the end of the century. In these conditions climate change will become a medical emergency that “threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health,” the commission found.

So, Why Should You Care? Climate change is already harming human health directly by causing more extreme heat waves, as well as increasing floods, drought, and intense storms. Indirect impacts include increased air pollution, less secure food supplies, malnutrition, population displacement, and mental illnesses. Global warming–driven ecosystem changes and biodiversity loss are also causing the spread of infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, schistosomiasis, hantavirus, and West Nile virus into new parts of the world.

Read the rest at TakePart

Photo: VICE News

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