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The Health Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change is the « biggest global health threat of the 21st century ». The alarm bell was rung 10 years ago by The Lancet, a leading medical Journal. Today, scientists and climatologists stress the fact that many more people will be exposed to extreme weather events over the next century that previously thought. Such extreme events pose a serious risk to human health and could even obliterate decades health development progress. Droughts and chronic water shortages harm rural areas and at least 150 million city dwellers. That number could grow to a billion by 2050 (Re. National Geographic). Undernourishment, mortality and morbidity rates related to heat waves and infectious diseases spread by insects are the direct effects of climate change (Re.Encyclopedia of the Environment). And respiratory pathologies related to air pollution are steadily increasing throughout the world, especially in urban areas. It is true that measuring the health effects from climate change can only be approximate. That said, we may recall the heat wave in Europe during the summer 2003 where more than 70,000 excess deaths were recorded . The World Health Organization has warned that climate change could cause between 250,000 and 300,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. What is certain is that health infrastructures in many parts of the world will be under heavy pressure. In fact, we are clearly ill-prepared for confronting these serious health risks. And we have to act now! Governments, businesses and individuals we are all in this together.

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