Climate change the biggest health risk of this century

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The Lancet report, produced by doctors, academics and policy experts from 27 organisations around the world, called for fast action to curb climate change and prepare global health systems for growing challenges. Beggs stated that Australia once led the world in usage of renewable energy sources but now lags behind others. Accordingly, 18 million more people at risk the heat were in last year's waves exposed as 2016.

Heat stress, an early and severe effect of climate change, is commonplace and the health systems are ill-equipped to cope.

"Given the overall poor state of progress on climate change and health in Australia, this country now has an enormous opportunity to take action and protect human health and lives", the publication said.

It involves 27 leading academic institutions, the United Nations, and intergovernmental agencies from every continent, drawing on expertise from climate scientists, ecologists, mathematicians, geographers, engineers, energy, food, livestock, and transport experts, economists, social and political scientists, public health professionals, and doctors. Europe and the eastern Mediterranean are more vulnerable than Africa and southeast Asia, most likely due to ageing populations living in cities - 42 per cent of Europeans and 43 per cent of people in the eastern Mediterranean are aged over 65 and vulnerable to heat exposure, compared with 38 per cent in Africa and 34 per cent in southeast Asia. The authors write, "A rapidly changing climate has dire implications for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extremes of weather, altering patterns of infectious disease, and compromising food security, safe drinking water and clean air". India also lost almost 75,000 million labour hours in 2017, compared to 43,000 million in 2000. "We can not delay action on climate change".

Prof Hilary Graham, of the University of York from the team of researchers said, "Health is what people feel".

Between 2010, and 2016, air pollution concentrations worsened in nearly 70% of cities around the globe, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries. "Lancet had shared summary data sets with us".

The stories from America are similar.

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According to the Lancet Countdown 2018 on Health and Climate Change report, globally each person was exposed to an additional 1.4 days of heat wave between 2000 and 2017 compared to the baseline period of 1986 to 2005. The public themselves can also help by putting the vehicle away and walking or cycling more.

Climate change is leading to health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illness, mental illness besides fuelling the spread of vector- borne diseases like dengue and malaria.

Hotter temperatures threaten the elderly and other vulnerable people with heat stress, and heart and kidney disease, according to an global team of experts.

She added, "I'm an emergency doctor and I'm working on this because this is an emergency".

In an accompanying editorial with the report it says, "Today's babies, by adulthood, will live on a planet without an Arctic. Multiple cities will be uninhabitable and migration patterns will be far beyond those levels already creating pressure worldwide".

Dr Nick Watts, Institute for Global Health, University College London another co- author of the study said: "India is one of the most vulnerable places and experiences at least half of the extreme heat exposure and the authorities must attend to that rising concern". "We see them coming at communities all at the same time".

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