Heat waves threaten today to 157 million people more than in the year 2000

the health risks of a heat wave climate change doubles the chances of heat waves This year is poised to become the fourth warmest ever recorded, accordi

Heat waves threaten today to 157 million people more than in the year 2000

the health risks of a heat wave

climate change doubles the chances of heat waves

This year is poised to become the fourth warmest ever recorded, according to the UN

Experts from around the world are in agreement that "action against climate change can't wait" and less on the basis of the results of a major report recently published by the medical journal the Lancet about the impact of the extreme heat derived from the heating of the Earth in human health. In 2017 there were 157 million vulnerable people threatened by heat waves more than in the year 2000 and 18 million in 2016.

With such data, and in the same line of the first report published in 2015, the commission of researchers who have participated in this work (The Lancet Countdown) insists that "climate change is a health issue". According to the pediatrician and scientist Anthony Costello, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown, the rising temperatures caused by the greenhouse effect "threatens to overwhelm our emergency systems and health". For this expert, there is no doubt that "poses a risk to the health unacceptably high" and warns that "for the first time, those older than 65 years of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean are especially vulnerable to the extreme heat (42%), ahead of Africa (38%) and Southeast Asia (34%)".

The heat exacerbates greatly the pollution of urban air, and, far from moving forward, from 2010 to 2016, this indicator has worsened in almost 70% of the cities all over the world. It is estimated, in fact, 4.2 million people die prematurely each year due to this circumstance. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) insists in decreasing the levels of contamination, to reduce the burden of disease resulting from strokes, lung cancers and lung diseases of chronic and acute, including asthma. However, the 97% of of the cities of the cities of low-income countries and media do not respect the WHO Guidelines on air quality.

Physicians, mathematicians, engineers, ecologists, economists, politicians, public health professionals, scientists, experts in energy, transportation, etc., have been a part of this independent report, conducted with the contribution of a total of 27 institutions from each continent, such as the WHO, the University College London Institute, the World Bank and Tsinghua University (in China). In Spain, The Lancet is collaborating with the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (SEMI).

Increased mortality

This large panel of specialists put the focus on the "speed of climate change that threatens our lives and the lives of our children." In the words of Kris Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental health science at the University of Washington, "increased mortality in heat waves, extreme is something that is already happening now and will continue as global temperatures continue to rise ... [The] actions are necessary: regulations to reduce emissions effectively, investments...".

as stated in the report, it is precisely the global warming creates the conditions more conducive to the spread of diseases such as cholera and dengue fever, and the vectorial capacity for transmission increases in many endemic areas.

In the last decade, the average temperature of the Earth has increased one degree, when the average increase was of 0.2 every 10 years. And this year, 2018 is poised to become the fourth warmest ever recorded, warns the UN days before the conference on climate COP24.

As argued by Ricardo Gomez Strikes, president of the SEMI, "according to the European Union, for each degree that the environmental temperature increases, mortality increases to 4%". In terms of absolute figures, an increase of 30,000 deaths each year in the next decade. To follow as well, "maybe we'll start to see in our environment infectious diseases that situábamos in tropical countries. For example, in Spain we have already seen autochthonous cases of dengue and it is possible that, in Europe, see also Zika or malaria."

"The heat stress is hitting with force, especially in the elderly who live in urban areas and with underlying diseases cardiovascular, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease; and also particularly affect people who work outdoors (agriculture and construction)," says Hugh Montgomery, another of the experts in climate change and health committee involved in this report.

A tie is less well known is the one that unites the extreme heat and mental health. The report also shows an increase in revenues from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In addition, increasing the symptoms of dementia, as well as observed a higher risk of suicide.

Given that only 3.8% of the adaptation funds available for development were specifically assigned for public health and taking into account the slow progress in the reduction of emissions, climate change remains a public health problem that should be to give an accelerated response. The report in The Lancet Countdown of 2018 demonstrates the need to respond with measures such as the removal of the coal, the deployment of our products more healthy, cleaner modes of transport or adaptation of the health system, among others.

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Date Of Update: 11 December 2018, 08:01

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