Global warming due to climate change already has made a serious impact on people’s health and the situation will worsen in the future, according to a new report from 27 national academies in Europe, including the Academy of Athens.
The report, by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), says that with current trends in greenhouse gas emissions, a global average temperature increase of over 3°C above pre-industrial levels is projected by the end of the century.
The increase will be higher over land masses than over the oceans, exposing world populations to unprecedented rates of climate change and contributing to the burden of disease and premature mortality.
Geographically, the Mediterranean and the Arctic regions are considered to be the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change on health, the report said.
Health risks will increase as climate change intensifies in many ways, including:
– Increased exposure to high temperatures and extreme events such as floods and droughts, air pollution and allergens;
– Weakening of food and nutrition security;
– Increased incidence and changing distribution of some infectious diseases (including mosquito-borne, food-borne and water-borne diseases);
– Growing risk of forced migration.
The EASAC emphasizes that the top priority is to stabilize the climate and accelerate efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The economic benefits of actions taken to address the current and prospective health effects of climate change are likely to be substantial.
The report proposes limiting meat consumption, which will help to control greenhouse gases while it will also have a direct, positive effect on human health.
Scientists are also calling on governments and the international community to show political will and improved cooperation in order to keep the average global warming below 2° C (3.6 degrees F). The EASAC says the ultimate goal should be a zero-carbon economy in the world by the year 2050.