Urgent action on climate change and emissions is needed to head off the ‘alarming impacts’ on human health, a new report from the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has concluded.
In its report, EASAC focuses on the myriad of consequences of climate change for human health in Europe and the benefits of strong action on mitigating emissions.
“If urgent action is not taken to reduce emissions in order to keep temperatures below the 2°C (or less) limit enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, we face potentially irreversible changes that will have wide ranging impacts on many aspects of health,” Professor Sir Andy Haines from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said.
The report, which drew on research from 27 national science academies from across Europe, identified the following health risks:
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.
“We hope that this comprehensive report will act as a wake-up call and draw attention to the need for action, particularly by pursuing policies to decarbonise the economy. The protection of health must have a higher profile in policies aimed at mitigating or adapting to the effects of climate change,” Sir Haines said.