A new report published Wednesday warns of the severe impact of climate change on human health, and says the prognosis is only getting worse.
Droughts will hurt food production, rising temperatures will encourage the spread of dangerous pathogens such as malaria and cholera and current climate trends indicate a “code red” for future health, the new report in The Lancet medical journal predicts.
The Lancet Countdown report, published annually, tracks 44 metrics of the health impacts of climate change, including the impact of climate change on infectious disease transmission and food production, as researched by experts affiliated with more than 40 UN groups and educational institutions.
The report said during a 6 month period in 2020, 51.6 million people were impacted by 84 disasters from floods, droughts, and storms in countries already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown finds a world overwhelmed by an ongoing global health crisis, which has made little progress to protect its population from the simultaneously aggravated health impacts of climate change,” the report authors wrote.
Climate impacts on health identified in the report included increased droughts hurting food production, more violent natural disasters placing burdens on health care systems, and rising temperatures encouraging the spread of infectious pathogens.