Climate Change Is Making Millions Of People Sick Right Now

The future is already here. Kasefoto/Shutterstock

Robin Andrews 31 Oct 2017, 13:05

Migration: At least 1 billion people will need to migrate by the end of the century due to rising sea levels alone, maybe more.

Communicable diseases: Infections transmitted by mosquitos and similar parasites will move further north and south as the warm equatorial band spreads outwards. Dengue virus, for example, already infects up to 100 million people worldwide every year, up from 1990 by around 6 percent.

Natural disasters: There has been a 46 percent increase in extreme weather events since 2000. Apart from destroying infrastructure and killing people, they are also responsible for economic losses of around $129 billion in 2016 alone, something which is set to rise after this year’s events.

The report is uncompromisingly stark. Although its focus is largely on human health, it also points out that climate change is causing millions of job losses – again, mainly in poorer nations. All in all, this is a rapidly unfolding anthropogenic disaster.

The Lancet Countdown

Despite the fact that much of this damage is irreversible, global action on climate change is still advocated by the report’s authors.

“The potential benefits and opportunities are enormous, including cleaning the air of polluted cities, delivering more nutritious diets, ensuring energy, food, and water security, and alleviating poverty and social and economic inequalities,” they explained.

They point out that patients listen to their doctors when something’s wrong – and governments need to do the same.

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