|Waste and Capitalism|
A report published in the reputable medical journal, The Lancet, highlights governments' failure to ambitiously address the climate emergency and related health impacts. Experts from dozens of academic and United Nations institutions collaborated on the report, which tracks 44 indicators sorted into five categories: climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities; adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; economics and finance; and public and political engagement.
"If nothing else will drive the message home about the present threat that climate change poses to our global society, this should," Lachlan McIver, a Doctors Without Borders physician, explained. "Your health, my health, the health of our parents and our children are at stake."
"Lowering greenhouse gas emissions is a prescription," Renee Salas, an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital pointed out. "The oath I took as a doctor is to protect the health of my patients. Demanding action on climate change is how I can do that."
Echoing several studies released in anticipation of the COP 26 summit, the new analysis raises alarm about the increasing risk of chikungunya, dengue, malaria, and Zika outbreaks and warns that due to rising seas, hundreds of millions of people face flooding, intense storms, and soil and water salinification that could force mass migration.
The impact of climate change on health is getting worse and it is exacerbating existing health and social inequities particularly in communities exposed to food and water insecurity, heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases. It is increasing health inequities everywhere.
Countdown executive director Anthony Costello noted some of the specific findings: "The 2021 report shows that populations of 134 countries have experienced an increase in exposure to wildfires. Millions of farmers and construction workers could have lost income because on some days it's just too hot for them to work. Drought is more widespread than ever before."
"This is our sixth report tracking progress on health and climate change and unfortunately we are still not seeing the accelerated change we need," said lead author Maria Romanello in a statement. "At best the trends in emissions, renewable energy, and tackling pollution have improved only very slightly," she continued, describing recent extreme weather exacerbated by rising temperatures as "grim warnings" of the consequences of delayed action.