An analysis of the impacts of climate change on human health

glacier 2019

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina (Rachel Jarboe, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Anna Paula Janeiro, a 5th year medical student from Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Since the industrial revolution, especially after the nineteenth century, significant changes have occurred for human life itself. Extreme poverty, from data collection in Our World In Data, dropped from 94% to an incredible 9.6% and caloric nutrition in major countries of the industrial revolution, such as France, increased from 1,846 kcal / person to 3,460 kcal /person. It was the main point for the definitive human flowering.

However, is not always a bed of roses. The environmental impact caused by the great socio-economic transformations has also brought countless negative repercussions to our environment. Still according to surveys of Our World In Data, it is estimated that the global temperature varied abnormally on a world average of 0.68 degrees Celsius, and that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere jumped from 315.97 ppm. in 1959 to 406.55 ppm. in 2017.

Increased emissions of polluting gases, depletion of the ozone layer and toxic gases eroding our oceans mean the price of progress. This progress is costing, in addition to terrestrial health, human health itself.

In this scenario, among the expected consequences in the human health area, there is evidence of the spread of infectious vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and lymphatic filariasis, for example. Several diseases responsible for exterminating a portion of the human population are extremely sensitive to temperature and precipitation, among them cholera, which can lead to death by intense dehydration, sometimes in a matter of hours. These events lead us to a negative perspective that there may be a paralysis or even reversal of the progress already made by the world public health community in the fight against any disease of endemic and epidemic potential.

The article ‘Quantifying excess deaths related to heatwaves under climate change scenarios: A multicountry time series modeling study’ published in the American magazine PLOS MEDICINE, concludes that a great part of the deaths will happen in tropical regions of the planet, mainly in low-HDI countries – especially among vulnerable populations – through heat waves caused by global warming.

From this, it is emphasized the need for effective climate policies to minimize the temperature rise by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, since lower emission levels are associated with fewer consequent heat wave deaths.

International agreements such as the Paris Agreement in 2015, demonstrate the human will, itself, to reverse the environmental damage caused by human actions over time. In September 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it will prosecute  crimes against humanity that are practiced through destruction of the environment, illegal exploitation of natural resources or illegal expropriation of land.

Even if the largest land-based polluters have not signed the Rome Statute – North of the ICC – it is important to emphasize that this measure is a small step towards greater efforts to defend the environment and, consequently, the well-being and health of the world’s population.

About the author

Anna Paula Janeiro is 23 years old. She is academic of the 5th period of the medical course. She is currently the director of anatomy discipline, scientific director of the Academic League of Plastic Surgery at Unicesumar (LACPU) and local coordinator at IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar.

the sting Milestones

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

Coronavirus crisis: “Commission will use all the tools at its disposal to make sure the European economy weathers the storm”

UN Middle East Coordinator strongly condemns ‘arrests and violence’ by Hamas security forces during Gaza protests

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Renewal of cross-border aid operation critical to northern Syria: UN relief chief

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals

Somalia’s population, international partners must be energized to sustain country’s ‘upward trajectory,’ says senior UN official

Tackling terrorism: MEPs approve tighter rules on homemade explosives

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can close the digital divide. This is how

Here are 5 of the biggest threats to our oceans, and how we can solve them

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Humanitarian Aid: EU allocates €55 million in Sudan

America writes-off Iran, blocks Europe’s Tehran talks

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

UN experts urge United Arab Emirates to release terminally ill woman to live her last days ‘in dignity’

White Coat, Stained red

Corruption In The Balkans Is Impeding EU Membership

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

The pandemic has damaged youth employment: Here’s how we can help

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

UN chief welcomes new Government in Lebanon, after eight-month impasse

European Commission secures EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19

Thoughtful blockchain implementation is key to improving supply chains in a post-COVID world

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

Humanity ‘at a crossroads’ as damage to planet poses growing risk to health, UN environment agency warns

A woman would have to be born in the year 2255 to get equal pay at work

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

UN calls for shipping ‘propulsion revolution’ to avoid ‘environmental disaster’

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Coronavirus: EU global response to fight the pandemic

5 ways Denmark is preparing for the future of work

How changemakers in Bangkok are popularising the circular economy

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

UN underlines need for dialogue to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

‘No country, no region’ can tackle global challenges alone says UN’s Mohammed

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino died – here are more species on the verge of extinction

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

More Stings?

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