Climate Change Global Health Threat: Report

A new study warns that climate change could bring widespread harmful health threats to millions, and that plans for adapting human settlements to climate change need to address social inequities.
May 17, 2009, 9am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century because it could change patterns of mosquito-borne diseases, exacerbate food and water scarcities and threaten shelter, according to a new report released on Thursday.

The 40-page report, titled Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change, was released jointly by the Lancet and University College London. Researchers focused on the global health implications of climate change on six areas:

* Patterns of disease and mortality, such as the spread of mosquitoes carrying malaria to warmer high altitudes.
* Food security, such as declining crop yields that could lead to greater food insecurity worldwide, where one billion people currently have deficient diets.
* Water shortages that will lead to more gastroenteritis from poor sanitation and malnutrition.
* Shortage of housing in cities and human settlements.
* Extreme climatic events such as flash flooding that will overwhelm sewage systems.
* Population migration.

[The report urges] that the inequity in health systems be addressed and poverty reduction take precedence in the debate on adapting human settlements."

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Published on Thursday, May 14, 2009 in CBC
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