Climate change is damaging the health of the world's children and threatens lifelong impact, report says




Climate change is damaging the health of the world\
Climate change is damaging the health of the world\'s children and threatens lifelong impact, report says  

Climate change is already damaging children's health worldwide and could shape the well-being of an entire generation - unless the world meets the Paris Agreement targets to limit warming to well below 3.6 degrees F, according to a new report published Wednesday by the British health journal, The Lancet.

According to the report, if the world continues its business-as-usual path - with high carbon dioxide emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate - a child born today will face a world on average over 7 degrees F warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives.

"Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate. Their bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants," said Dr. Nick Watts, a report co-author and executive director of the Lancet Countdown.

"The damage done in early childhood is persistent and pervasive, with health consequences lasting for a lifetime," Watts said. "Without immediate action from all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, gains in well-being and life expectancy will be compromised, and climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation."

The report, titled the The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, is a collaboration among 120 climate and health experts from 35 institutions around the globe.

The report stated that as temperatures rise, harvests will shrink - threatening food security and driving up food prices. Infants and small children are among the worst affected by malnutrition and related health problems such as stunted growth, weak immune systems, and long-term developmental problems.

In addition, children will be especially susceptible to the infectious diseases that rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns will leave in their wake. 2018 was the second-most climatically suitable year on record for the spread of bacteria that cause much of diarrheal disease and wound infection around the world.

"This year, the accelerating impacts of climate change have become clearer than ever", said Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown and a professor from University College, London.

"The highest recorded temperatures in Western Europe and wildfires in Siberia, Queensland, and California triggered asthma, respiratory infections and heat stroke," he said. "Sea levels are now rising at an ever concerning rate. Our children recognize this climate emergency and demand action to protect them. We must listen, and respond."

Extreme weather events will intensify into adulthood, the report found, with 152 out of 196 countries experiencing an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-04, and a record 220 million more people over 65 exposed to heatwaves in 2018, when compared with 2000.

For the world to meet its U.N. climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, and soon, the report warned. Nothing short of a 7.4 percent year-on-year cut in carbon dioxide emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 2.7 degrees F.

"The path that the world chooses today will irreversibly mark our children's futures", said co-author Dr. Stella Hartinger from Cayetano Heredia University in Peru. "We must listen to the millions of young people who have led the wave of school strikes for urgent action.

"It will take the work of 7.5 billion people currently alive to ensure that the health of a child born today isn't defined by a changing climate," she said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Climate change is damaging the health of the world's children

COMMENTS

More Related News

Thunberg urges climate action because
Thunberg urges climate action because 'people are dying'

Teen activist Greta Thunberg on Friday urged world leaders gathered in Madrid for a UN climate conference to take urgent action to fight climate change, warning "we can't afford" more delays because "people are dying".

You just lived through the warmest decade on record - and it
You just lived through the warmest decade on record - and it's only going to get hotter

And 2019 is on course to be the second- or third-warmest year on record, with 2016 still holding the all-time temperature record.

Climate Change and Its Effects Are Accelerating, Scientists Say
Climate Change and Its Effects Are Accelerating, Scientists Say
  • World
  • 2019-12-05 13:11:51Z

More devastating fires in California. Persistent drought in the Southwest. Record flooding in Europe and Africa. A heat wave, of all places, in Greenland.Climate change and its effects are accelerating, with climate related disasters piling up, season after season."Things are getting worse," said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, which Tuesday issued its annual state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. "It's more urgent than ever to proceed with mitigation."But reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change will require drastic measures, Taalas said. "The...

Climate simulations are mostly accurate, study finds
Climate simulations are mostly accurate, study finds
  • US
  • 2019-12-04 17:08:07Z

The computer models used to simulate what heat-trapping gases will do to global temperatures have been pretty spot-on in their predictions, a new study found. After years of hearing critics blast the models' accuracy, climate scientist Zeke Hausfather decided to see just how good they have been. Ten of the 17 were close to the temperatures that actually happened, said Hausfather, lead author of a study in Wednesday's journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The year the world woke up to the climate emergency
The year the world woke up to the climate emergency

Spurred on by Swedish wunderkind Greta Thunberg -- virtually unknown outside of her homeland a year ago but now a global star nominated for a Nobel prize -- millions of young people took part in weekly demonstrations demanding climate action. Although scientists have warned for decades about the risk to humanity and Earth posed by unfettered burning of fossil fuels, in 2019 -- set to be the second hottest year in history -- their message seems to have finally hit home. The 2015 Paris agreement saw nations commit to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels as a way of curbing the worst impacts of global warming.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America