Lack of response to climate change will threaten both human lives and health systems

The “Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change” was established to evaluate impacts of climate change on health in a global dimension. The 2018 report was produced with 27 leading academic institutions, the UN, and intergovernmental agencies from every continent. The report draws on world-class expertise from climate scientists, ecologists, mathematicians, geographers, engineers, energy, doctors, etc.

Main messages:

  1. Present day changes in heat waves, labour capacity, vector-borne disease, and food security provide early warning of the compounded and overwhelming impact on public health that are expected if temperatures continue to rise.
  2. A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems.
  3. The nature and scale of the response to climate change will be the determining factor in shaping the health of nations for centuries to come.
  4. Ensuring a widespread understanding of climate change as a central public health issue will be crucial in delivering an accelerated response, with the health profession beginning to rise to this challenge.
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