The health impacts of climate change have always been underestimated. The degree of underestimation has been so high that a recently published study suggests that we are getting closer to undo all the developments in global health that took place during the past five decades. The said study was published in the UK medical journal Lancet on June 23.
A team consisted of researchers at the University College London (UCL) have estimated that the intensity and frequency of extreme weather episodes will be increasing dramatically. According to them, while the number of people getting exposed to droughts will become triple of what it was during the 1990s, people’s exposure to extreme rainfall will quadruple.
People in different parts of the globe will be experiencing direct health impacts of floods, heat waves, storms and droughts. In addition, there will also be highly impactful indirect effects of those extreme weather events on the global population, which include mass migraines, conflicts, spreading of infectious diseases, malnutrition and pollution.
The Lancet report has stated that politicians who have failed to manage those issues by implementing necessary changes are the ones at maximum fault. According to the report, we already have financing methods and technologies that can effectively address the problem.
The author has clearly stated that whether we will be succeeding in fighting and beating the biggest health threat of this century is not an economic or technical question anymore; the matter has now become a political issue.
The director of the UCL Institute for Human Health & Performance Hugh Montgomery described climate change as a medical emergency. According to him, the issue of climate change requires emergency response using the best technologies available.
Montgomery said that when there’s a medical emergency, a doctor will never want to waste time by having case discussions on the issue. According to him, that’s the exact approach experts had when dealing with climate change.
This new study published on Lancet clearly indicates that combating climate change will help in improving overall health of the global population. For instance, according to the UCL researchers, burning fossil fuels and improving quality of air might help in reducing respiratory diseases.
The study has also found that cycling and walking instead of traveling in public transports or cars might decrease the number of traffic accidents and reduce chances of developing health issues such as stroke, coronary heart diseases, diabetes, obesity etc.
The researchers believe that for achieving all those goals a lot of work must be done both at national and international levels. They have written that there should be an effective international agreement that will be supporting stronger efforts at all levels and in every corner of the world.