The changes in climate and shifts in weather pattern occurring over a period of time can threaten the natural processes of the Earth as well as lives of all creatures living on it including human beings.
The changing temperature and precipitation pattern are clear to observe in various regions of the world. Environmental disasters like droughts, floods, heat waves, and forest fires have become more common.
A medical journal titled in The Lancet published a report featuring 55 authors from various environmental disciplines around the world. This international research provides a global overview of the issue.
The climate change has always received delayed response affecting the vulnerable populations at greater scale. It is a major precursor affecting the livelihood of people around the world.
A fellow at Institute for Global Health, University College London, Nick Watts said that we have been quite shocked and surprised by some results while studying the association between climate change and public health.
Various health hazards are associated with changing the climate. The death toll due to natural disasters is increasing worldwide at an annual rate. The observed rate of climate change is so rapid that ecosystem and humans have failed to adapt accordingly.
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The major concern of time is increasing the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Being a major culprit behind global temperature rise and greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide presents a major overall threat.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) declared 2017 as the “Year of Climate Change and Health”. Considering the importance of an issue, it is needed to remediate the potential threats to human health.
The land warming is at a faster rate than atmospheric warming. Heating up of Earth has increased the risk of frequent heat waves. According to Lancet report, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heat waves since 2000 has increased by about 125 million people.
Coal and fossil fuel emissions are the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The coal use was at the peak in 2013 contributing a lot to air pollution.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are special concerns with dengue. The risk of dengue has raised 30-folds in last 50 years.
As a result of a global rise in temperature, the global capacity of two mosquito species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus has also increased by 3 percent. El Nino is expected to increase the risk of mosquito caused infections.
The impacts are more severe on children under age of 12 years or elderly and patients. There is increasing rate of lungs diseases, heart diseases, acute or chronic respiratory tract infections and other.
Along with these health effects, the extreme weather conditions have worsened the other existing problems.
The president of American Lung Association, Harold P. Wimmer said in a statement, “The report emphasizes the scale of threats to human health and makes it clear that reducing dangerous climate pollution is critical to protect the health and save lives”.
Lancet report is driving the American climate policy to a new direction. Public health groups have shown greater interest in it, making a larger point about climate policy in the country.
When Lancet report exposes the impacts of climate change on human health, it also presents an immediate way forward. Addressing and tackling the issues related to climate change improves the global health.
There is need to invest in public health research and to develop climate resilient health systems. Involvement of health professionals is essential for understanding climate change and responding it at a time in a better way.
It calls for the timely action which we need for providing safer energy sources to resist the effects due to climate change and to accelerate communities in this regard for safe future.