‘Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21 century’. Lancet, 2009


Credits: A drop of water falls from a melting piece of ice on Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate, in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, December 16, 2009. (REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci)

One of the world’s leading universities UCL and the world’s foremost medical journal Lancet addressed the greatest potential health threat of all time: ”climate change” in a 2009 report entitled “Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change”.

The report states that:

  • Climate Change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century
  • Recent scientific findings on greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature, sea-level rise, ice sheets, ocean acidification and extreme climatic events suggest that the 2007 climate forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be too conservative
  • Temperature rises above 2 degrees Celsius will increase the level of climate disruption through the 21st century and might lead to abrupt, severe and irreversible changes in climate

There are major health benefits from low-carbon living with potential reductions in obesity, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illnesses. A new advocacy and public health movement is urgently needed, which frames the threat of Climate Change as a health issue for humankind, and which also seeks to drive the health benefits of a low-carbon society.

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