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Climate change & health

The greatest single threat to human health is climate change.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global temperature increases should be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C in order to prevent catastrophic health effects and the millions of fatalities caused by climate change. The global temperature will inevitably rise to a certain point as a result of past emissions, along with other climate changes. Even 1.5°C of global warming is not regarded as safe, and an extra tenth of a degree of warming will have detrimental effects on human life and health.


The people most impacted by the climate crisis are those who have had the least involvement in it and are least able to protect themselves and their families from it, namely those in low-income countries and communities and those in disadvantaged countries and communities, even though no one is immune to these risks. The climate catastrophe poses a threat to reverse the gains made in development, global health, and poverty reduction over the past 50 years and to worsen already-existing health disparities across and within people. By, among other things, increasing the burden of disease and bolstering already-existing barriers to accessing health services, frequently at a time when they are most needed, it raises significant obstacles to universal health coverage (UHC). Around 13% of the world's population, or more than 930 million individuals, spend at least 10% of their family income on health care. Around 100 million individuals fall into poverty each year due to shocks and pressures to their health because the poorest people are generally uninsured; the consequences of climate change are accelerating this trend.

Dangers to health associated to climate

Health is already being negatively impacted by climate change in a number of ways, including an increase in zoonotic diseases, foodborne illnesses, waterborne illnesses, vector-borne diseases, and mental health disorders, as well as an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events like heat waves, storms, and flooding. In addition, climate change threatens a variety of socioeconomic factors that influence health, including livelihoods, inequalities, access to care, and social support networks. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as women, children, ethnic minorities, poor communities, migrants or displaced people, elderly people, and people with co-morbidities, are disproportionately affected by these climate-related health concerns.

While it is obvious that climate change is having an effect on human health, it is difficult to correctly estimate the scope and consequences of many climate-related health hazards. But as science progresses, we can more clearly characterize the risks and scope of these health problems and link rising morbidity and mortality to human-induced warming. The sensitivity of populations, their resilience to the current rate of climate change, and the scope and pace of adaptation will all play a significant role in determining the health implications of climate change in the short and medium term. Longer term effects will increasingly depend on how far emissions are reduced, dangerous temperature thresholds, and potential irreversible tipping points are kept within reach through transformational measures.