International Report Says Climate Change Causing Cascading Health Issues

2018 saw unusually high temperatures affecting large areas of the?northern hemisphere, and nine of the ten warmest years have been recorded since 2005.?Around the world in 2017, there were 157 million more vulnerable people exposed to heatwaves compared with the year 2000.

India also lost almost 75,000 million labour hours in 2017 (equivalent to a year's work for 7% of the working population), compared to about 43,000 million hours in 2000, an increase of more than 30,000 million labour hours lost in less than two decades. China alone lost 21bn hours, the equivalent of a year's work for 1.4% of their working population. Despite a mean global temperature increase of 0.3 degrees Celsius between 1986 and 2017, the average temperature increase people were exposed to was more than double this (0.8 degrees Celsius). Global Warming at 1.5°C: Rapid, Far-Reaching Changes Needed, Says IPCC. So is our economy!

Ambient air pollution from the coal-based power plants leads to 107,000 premature deaths in India, the study has estimated. "The evidence is resounding", said Mona Sarfaty, M.D., the director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, a coalition of 22 medical societies that represents more than half a million physicians in the country, in an emailed statement.

"The attribution shows that unfortunately an approach targeting a single sector or fuel won't solve the problem - air pollution is a multi-faceted issue that needs integrated strategies cutting across many sectors, which will differ from country to country".

They said healthcare spending to adapt to climate change increased by 3.1 per cent to Dollars 14.9 billion globally, which falls well short of the commitments made in the 2015 Paris accord.

Small changes in temperature and rainfall can boost transmission of dengue fever and other infectious diseases that are spread through water and mosquitoes. The Countdown reports that suitability for the transmission of dengue fever from both of these mosquitoes has been increasing in step with recent warming, and is now nearly 10% higher than in the 1950s, with the report's authors sending a warning to health authorities in Brazil and Australia. In addition, these changes were concentrated in already vulnerable areas in India, southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, and South America.

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The increased risk and severity of devastating heavy rainfall, flooding, droughts and wildfires is starting to affect peoples' access to food, with the world's poorest being hardest hit. A number of steps can already lead to considerable improvement.

In a briefing launched with the Countdown, the medical aid charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) warned that in this region, wasting (acute malnutrition with muscle loss) and stunting (chronic malnutrition with impaired growth) are both the result of severe nutritional deficiencies and expose children to repeated illness, developmental challenges and risk of death. "The lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens lives and health systems and must be addressed to avoid disruption to core public health infrastructure and overwhelming health services".

"In less than one week we've seen two major reports that highlight many ways climate change is harming our health".

The Lancet study recommended that Indian authorities identify "heat hot-spots" by properly collecting meteorological data and promoting "timely development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency co-ordination, and a response which targets the most vulnerable groups", The Hindu reported.

The report published on The Lancet involved 150 experts from 27 universities and institutions across the United States.

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