The climate crisis is fatty with health: No one is safe from its effects

The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are the two great emergencies facing the planet. The second also has serious implications in human health that ha

The climate crisis is fatty with health: No one is safe from its effects

The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are the two great emergencies facing the planet. The second also has serious implications in human health that have aggravated in recent months, according to the sixth report published by the magazine The Lancet in which annually, it is followed up with 44 indicators on the close links between health and Climate change, nutritional, demographic or infectious diseases, among others.

The work, known as The Lancet Countdown, speaks this year also of "Red Code for a Healthy Future". Red Code was the expression that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, used in August to assess the latest IPCC evaluation report (the group of climate change experts linked to the UN), which documented an increase in extreme phenomena Linked to climate change.

The report, in which scientists from 43 Academics and UN agencies participate, arrives a few days before the start of the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26) during which countries should increase their emission reduction commitments to try to limit The increase in global temperature at 1.5ºC at the end of the century with respect to which was at the beginning of the industrial age. Looking for this appointment, the authors' message is that because "world inequalities are increasing and the management of the trip is getting worse all the results linked to health ... Successing the climate emergency is not inevitable."

The report of the prestigious magazine focuses on the implications that the increase in temperatures and extreme phenomena have on various aspects of health. The appearance or increase of diseases or food insecurity are some of them. "Climate change is here and we are already seeing it to affect human health around the world," Professor Anthony Costello, Executive Director of The Lancet Countdown.

The work also includes the negative effects that, in the opinion of the authors, can have recovery plans launched by the pandemic of Coronavirus: "We are recovering from a health crisis in a way that puts our health at risk", Advierte Maria Romanello, the main author of the report.

"Governments are spending billions of dollars in recovery after the pandemic, this gives us the opportunity to take a safer, healthier and low carbon emissions, but we still have to do it. It is expected that less than a dollar of Every five that are spent on the recovery of the COVID-19 reduces greenhouse gas emissions, "says Romanello.

The lack of water is one of the factors with the highest incidence on health, as evidenced by the situation in the Horn of Africa, one of the most affected in 2020 by the shortage of rains. The frequency, intensity and duration of droughts threatens water security, sanitation and food productivity, and increases the risk of forest fires and exposure to pollutants. According to the report, in 2020, up to 19% of the global land surface was affected by an extreme drought in a given month, a value that had not exceeded 13% between 1950 and 1999. In addition, the five years with the areas More affected by extreme droughts have taken place since 2015.

Climate change, emphasizes authors, has a direct relationship with food insecurity, which in 2019 affected 2,000 million people around the world. The climb of temperatures is reducing the yield of crops. For example, the corn suffered a decrease of 6% in the culture performance potential; wheat, a decrease of 3%; and rice, a decrease of 1.8%, compared to the levels between 1981 and 2010.

Likewise, 3,300 million people depend on marine foods to meet their needs and are being given harmed by the increased temperature of the sea surface. On the other hand, the rise in the sea level puts at risk at 569.6 million citizens living less than five meters above the current level of the sea, and whose homes are at risk due to the risk of flooding, the incidence of More intense storms and salinification of soil and water. Many of these people, says the report, could be forced to permanently leave their homes.

The authors emphasize that "nobody is safe from the effects of climate change" and as an example they mention "the increasing possibility of dengue, chikunguña and zika outbreaks in countries with a very high human development index, including countries Europeans ". It also points out that the coasts of northern Europe and the US are becoming more conducive to generate bacteria that produce gastroenteritis, serious injury infections and sepsis. "In countries with limited resources, the same dynamic puts at risk decades of progress towards control or elimination of these diseases."

Europe was the region most affected by the increase in heat vulnerability, but the report also highlights the severity of heat waves in the US and Canada last June, in which 40 ºC were overcome. "Although the exact number will not be known until a few months, thousands of people have died prematurely due to heat," says the work.

In addition to children and the elderly, the study points out the workers of the agricultural sector as the most vulnerable to heat, both for their health effects and at lost hours.

Mental health is also harmed. The report measured the effect of heat waves in it by analyzing 6,000 million tweets for five years of Twitter users. The analysis showed an increase of 155% in negative expressions during the heat waves in 2020 compared to the average of the period 2015-2019.

On the other hand, the report shows that the actions undertaken by governments are, in general, insufficient to limit the effects of the climate crisis in health. According to the World Health Organization, only half of the countries that responded to the global health and climate change survey (37 of 70) had a national health and climate change strategy implemented, a proportion similar to that of 2018. According to The report, almost three quarters of the countries surveyed argued that finances prevented them from developing this type of strategies, while other Naciones mentioned the lack of trained persons, restrictions on the pandemic and lack of research and evidence.

The report also highlights inequalities between countries in relation to its response to climate change. The lowest countries in the Human Development Index are generally the least responsible for the increase of greenhouse gas emissions and the most laged in adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Updated Date: 21 October 2021, 00:27

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