• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

Lancet: Covid recovery poses dire climate, health risks

  • Published at 01:26 pm October 21st, 2021
Covid
A man rides his scooter at a crowded market amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease in Mumbai Reuters

The study warned that rising temperatures would expose tens of millions more to drought and disease as soon as 2050

Countries' fossil-fuel powered Covid-19 recoveries will have long-lasting consequences on human health and risk worsening the food and water insecurity, heatwaves and infectious diseases already threatening billions globally, a major assessment warned Thursday. 

The Lancet Countdown is the largest annual study of the impacts of climate change on human health. 

It found that up to 19% of Earth's land mass was affected by extreme drought in 2020 and warned that climate change posed a major threat to food security, which already affects more than two billion people. 

Compared with the historic average, the global population of over-65s lived through 3.1 billion additional extreme heat days last year, it found. 

Populations of 134 countries are now at greater threat from wildfires than at any time previously, and millions of farmers and construction workers are losing income because of the rising number of extremely hot days. 

And climate change is creating ideal conditions for infectious diseases such as dengue fever, Zika virus, cholera and malaria across a far larger span of the globe than just a few decades ago and including Europe, it said. 

"Climate change is here and we're already seeing it damaging human health across the world," said Anthony Costello, executive director of the Lancet Countdown. 

"As the Covid-19 crisis continues, every country is facing some aspect of the climate crisis too."

'Bleak outlook'

The assessment found that the five years with the most areas affected by extreme drought have all occurred since 2015. 

Disruption to the water cycle due to global heating shortens the time in which plants reach maturity, resulting in small yields putting ever-greater stress on food production.

The Lancet said that yield potential for maize -- a global staple -- had already declined 6% compared with 1981-2010 levels. 

Wheat has seen a 3% yield potential fall, and rice a 1.8% fall, it found.

And the marine food upon which 3.3. billion people depend on for either sustinence or income is under "increasing threat", with average sea temperature rising in nearly 70% of territorial waters compared with just 15 years ago. 

The report also warned that nearly three quarters of countries surveyed said they believed they could not afford an integrated national health and climate strategy. 

"This year we saw people suffering intense heatwaves, deadly floods and wildfires," said lead author Maria Romanello. 

"These are grim warnings that, for every day that we delay our response to climate change, the situation gets more critical.

"It's time to realize that no one is safe from the effects of climate change."

In an editorial, the Lancet called on world leaders at the forthcoming COP26 summit to divert some of the trillions they are spending on Covid-19 recovery to reduce inequality and safeguard health. 

"This year's indicators give a bleak outlook: global inequities are increasing, and the direction of travel is worsening in all health outcomes." 

AFP in June obtained a draft of an assessment on the impacts of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

It warned that rising temperatures would expose tens of millions more to disease, drought and disease as soon as 2050.

54
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail