Climate change's widespread health impacts

Global warming poses a dire threat to public health, with effects ranging from extreme heat deaths to increased disease spread, says the director of The Lancet Countdown. But policies designed to combat climate change while protecting public health can build resilience.

Rob Reddick reports forWIRED.


In short:

  • Extreme weather and rising temperatures are linked to approximately 500,000 deaths annually, with projections indicating a potential fivefold increase by 2050.
  • The Lancet Countdown, a global research collaboration, provides evidence of climate change's current and future health risks, and urges immediate policy changes.
  • The organization points out multiple benefits from combating climate change: reducing pollution while improving health and quality of life through greener cities and better diets.

Key quote:

"When we talk about climate change, we’re not talking about the future. The cost of inaction is that we pay with people’s lives."

— Marina Romanello, executive director of the Lancet Countdown

Why this matters:

There's increasing interest -- and urgency -- around understanding and addressing the health impacts and equity dimensions of climate change. Read about how one community in Massachusetts is pursuing global climate justice concerns on a local level, connecting the dots between extreme weather, pollution and access to health care and clean energy in order to build community resilience.

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