COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

WMO/Alfred Lee In cities like Beijing in China, smog has become a major health issue.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Taking bold climate action now, could help save a million lives and a lot of money by the middle of the century, said the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, launching a special report as part of the ongoing COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

As the world is coming together to define ways to move forward on climate action and the realization of the objectives defined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, WHO stressed that it’s not just the planet that would benefit –  an estimated one million lives could be saved through reductions in air pollution alone.

“The Paris Agreement is potentially the strongest health agreement of this century,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “The evidence is clear that climate change is already having a serious impact on human lives and health. It threatens the basic elements we all need for good health – clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter – and will undermine decades of progress in global health.”

The report also shows that the economic benefits of improved health would be twice as high as the economic cost of mitigating global warming, and fighting air pollution. The return on investment is even higher in countries key to tackling global emissions, such as China and India.

Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated US$ 5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that have the highest greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4 per cent of GDP. By contrast, actions to meet the Paris commitment of keeping warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, would cost around 1 per cent of global GDP, said WHO.

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health.

The main driver of climate change is fossil fuel combustion which is also a major contributor to air pollution, and an important cause of poor health worldwide.

“The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs. The health burden of polluting energy sources is now so high, that moving to cleaner and more sustainable choices for energy supply, transport and food systems effectively pays for itself,” says Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health for WHO. “When health is taken into account, climate change mitigation is an opportunity, not a cost.”

Switching to low-carbon energy sources will not only improve air quality but provide additional opportunities for immediate health benefits. For example, introducing active transport options such as cycling will help increase physical activity that can help prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The report includes recommendations for decision-makers on how to tackle climate action and public health issues at the same time, including: policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and air pollution; the mobilisation of mayors to effect local change; investment in “climate-smart” health facilities; and the leveraging of the health community as powerful public advocates for climate action.

“We now have a clear understanding of what needs to be done to protect health from climate change – from more resilient and sustainable healthcare facilities, to improved warning systems for extreme weather and infectious disease outbreaks. But the lack of investment is leaving the most vulnerable behind,” said Dr. Joy St John, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

FROM THE FIELD: ‘A piece of me’ was taken

Companies ‘failing’ to address offline harm incited by online hate: UN expert

Facilitating the access to finance and risk capital for SMEs and midcaps

Easing US-China trade tensions could save millions of jobs: Asia-Pacific UN report

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

The Netherlands is paying people to cycle to work

10 of Albert Einstein’s best quotes

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Health is nothing but the main consequence of climate change

Two peacekeepers killed in an attack against UN convoy in Mali

More, not less, multilateralism is needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic

The decline of our oceans is accelerating, but it’s not too late to stop it

3 ways blockchain can accelerate sustainable development

The business case for diversity in the workplace is now overwhelming

Why do medical students seek for work abroad?

Why are the financial markets shivering again?

COVID-19 is more deadly for some ethnic groups

Why Europe is more competitive than the US

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

‘Step backwards’ for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region as assembly reneges on Srebrenica genocide report

Parliament to vote on new European Commission on 27 November

Here are 3 alternative visions for the future of work

MEPs want to fund crucial areas to stimulate European growth

Discrimination in the medical curriculum: are medical schools providing students with equal access to the medical profession?

As Marvel’s first comic book fetches $1.26 million, here are five things to know about the superhero business

EU4FairWork: Commission launches campaign to tackle undeclared work

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

OECD economic scenarios to 2060 illustrate the long-run benefits of structural reforms

European Defence Fund on track with €525 million for Eurodrone and other joint research and industrial projects

UN rights office calls for action to end ‘repression and retaliation’ in crisis-torn Nicaragua

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

Greek-Turkish border: MEPs reject Turkey’s pressure, demand common asylum rules

How to turn a traditional business into a platform-based success

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ford trumpets new in-vehicle system, “fundamentally rethinks” transportation

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

Monday’s Daily Brief: global homicide figures, neo-Nazi recruitment, Kashmir, and migrants’ plight in USA

World ‘not yet on track’ to ensure children a better future: UN rights chief

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

Here’s how to achieve an optimal student/tutor ratio

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021

“America first” policy goes against EU-US partnership, say MEPs

The planet’s health is our health: why healthcare must go green

How do we build trust between humans and AI?

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

Posting of workers: final vote on equal pay and working conditions

Cambodia loses duty-free access to the EU market over human rights concerns

This is where obesity places the biggest burden on healthcare

Statistics show the ugly face of youth training schemes

Vaccination: European Commission and World Health Organization join forces to promote the benefits of vaccines

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

New Zealand Prime Minister opens door to 4-day working week

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

How to create a world where healthcare is a right, not a luxury

Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms

This massive project in Spain is the latest milestone in Europe’s solar power boom

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s