IIASA researchers have contributed to a major new report in The Lancet medical journal looking at the effects of climate change on human health, and the implications for society.
The 2018 Report of the research coalition The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change shows that rising temperatures as a result of climate change are already exposing us to an unacceptably high health risk and warns, for the first time, that older people in Europe and the East Mediterranean are particularly vulnerable to extremes of heat, markedly higher than in Africa and SE Asia. The risk in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean stems from aging populations living in cities, with 42% and 43% of over-65s respectively vulnerable to heat. In Africa, 38% are thought to be vulnerable, while in Asia it is 34%.
The report also states that ambient air pollution resulted in several million premature deaths from ambient fine particulate matter globally in 2015, a conclusion from IIASA researchers confirming earlier assessments. Since air pollution and greenhouse gases often share common sources, mitigating climate change constitutes a major opportunity for direct human health benefits.
Leading doctors, academics and policy professionals from 27 organizations have contributed analysis and jointly authored the report. Alongside IIASA, the partners behind the research include the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), University College London and Tsinghua University, among others.
IIASA researcher Gregor Kiesewetter led a team from the Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases research program that estimated the dangers of air pollution to human health. A new and important finding this year was the global attribution of deaths to source. Kiesewetter and the team found that coal alone accounts for 16% of pollution-related premature deaths, around 460,000, which they state makes phasing out coal-use a “crucial no-regret intervention for public health”.
Continue reading at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Image via International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis