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- 1 How Does Global Warming Affect The People
- 2 We Have 12 Years To Limit Climate Change Catastrophe, Warns Un
How Does Global Warming Affect The People
Climate scientists say they are 95 percent certain that human influence has been the dominant cause of global warming since 1950. They are almost as sure of that as they are of cigarette smoke causing cancer.
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Why are they so confident? Partly because they have a good understanding of how greenhouse gases can warm the planet, partly because the theory fits the current evidence, and partly because other theories have been rejected. Let’s break it down into six steps:
1) Scientists have known for a long time that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane or water vapor, absorb certain frequencies of infrared radiation and spread to the earth. These gases actually prevent heat from escaping too quickly into space, absorbing that radiation at the surface and keeping the Earth warm.
2) Climatologists also know that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide increased by 40 percent. Methane increased by 150 percent. Using relatively simple chemistry, scientists can attribute this increase to human activities such as the burning of oil, gas and coal.
3) It is therefore natural that more greenhouse gases will cause more heat. And in fact, satellite measurements have shown that less infrared radiation escapes into space over time and returns to the Earth’s surface. There is strong evidence that the greenhouse effect is increasing.
Water And Climate Change
4) There are other human traces that show that increased greenhouse gases are warming the earth. For example, in the 1960s, simple climate models predicted that global warming caused by more carbon dioxide would lead to cooling in the upper atmosphere (because heat is trapped at the surface). Later satellite measurements confirmed exactly that. Here are some of the same predictions that have also been confirmed.
5) At the same time, climate scientists have ruled out alternative explanations for the rise in average temperatures over the last century. For example: solar activity can change from year to year and affect the Earth’s climate. But satellite data show that total solar radiation has declined slightly over the past 35 years, even as the Earth warms.
6) Newer calculations show that it is impossible to explain the increase in temperature we have seen in the last century without taking into account the increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Natural causes such as the sun or volcanoes have an effect, but they are not enough on their own.
Finally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that most of the warming since 1951 was human-caused. The Earth’s climate can vary from year to year due to natural forces (including fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean, such as El Niño). But greenhouse gases drive the greatest rise in temperature.
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More info: Here’s a chart that breaks down the various factors that affect the Earth’s average temperature. And there is more information in the IPCC report, especially here and here.
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Climate change also affects our health workforce and infrastructure, reducing our ability to provide universal health coverage (UHC). Fundamentally, climate shocks and increasing stressors, such as changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, droughts, floods and sea-level rise, erode the environmental and social components of physical and mental health. All aspects of health are affected by climate change, from clean air, water and soil to food systems and livelihoods. Any further delay in the fight against climate change will increase health risks, undermine decades of improving global health and run counter to our collective commitment to guarantee the human right to health for all.
The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate risks are occurring faster and will be worse for longer than previously thought, and that it will be more difficult to adapt to increased global warming.
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It also revealed that 3.6 billion people already live in areas highly vulnerable to climate change. Despite contributing the least to global emissions, low-income countries and small island developing States (SIDS) bear the heaviest health impacts. In vulnerable areas, the death rate caused by extreme weather events in the last decade is 15 times higher than in less vulnerable areas.
Climate change affects health in many ways, including death and disease from increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, storms and floods, disruption of food systems, increases in animal diseases and food, water and vectors. – Infectious diseases and mental problems. In addition, climate change undermines many social determinants of good health, such as livelihoods, access to health services and social support structures. These climate-sensitive health risks are disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including women, children, ethnic groups, poor immigrant or refugee communities, older populations, and those with underlying health conditions.
Figure: Overview of climate-sensitive health risks, exposure pathways and vulnerability factors. Climate change has direct and indirect effects on health and is strongly mediated by the environmental, social and societal impacts of health.
Although it is not clear that climate change affects human health, accurate assessment of the magnitude and impact of many climate-sensitive health risks remains a challenge. However, scientific advances allow us to increasingly attribute increased disease and mortality to global warming and to determine with greater precision the risk and magnitude of this health threat.
How Does Climate Change Impact Human Health?
Data shows that 2 billion people lack safe drinking water and 600 million suffer from foodborne illness each year, with children under 5 suffering 30% of foodborne illnesses. Climate stressors increase the risk of waterborne and foodborne diseases. In 2020, 770 million people face hunger, mainly in Africa and Asia. Climate change affects the availability, quality and diversity of food, leading to food and nutrition crises.
Changes in temperature and precipitation lead to the spread of vector-borne pathogens. Without preventive measures, deaths from such diseases, now more than 700,000 per year, could increase. Climate change causes immediate mental health problems, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress, and long-term disruptions through factors such as displacement and disruption of social cohesion.
Recent studies show that 37% of heat-related deaths are due to human-caused climate change. Heat-related deaths among those over 65 have increased by 70% in two decades. By 2020, an additional 98 million people will experience food insecurity compared to the 1981-2010 average. It conservatively predicts an additional 250,000 deaths annually by 2030 due to the effects of climate change on diseases such as malaria and coastal flooding. However, modeling challenges remain, particularly in capturing risks such as drought and migration.
The climate crisis threatens to undo the progress of the past 50 years in development, global health and poverty reduction and exacerbate existing health inequalities between and within populations. This seriously jeopardizes the implementation of UHC in a number of ways, including increasing the burden of existing diseases and increasing existing barriers to accessing health services, often at times when they are most needed. More than 930 million people, about 12% of the world’s population, spend at least 10% of their family budget on health care. With the poorest people insecure, health shocks and stress have pushed around 100 million people into poverty each year, and the effects of climate change have exacerbated this trend.
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In the short and medium term, the health effects of climate change will primarily depend on the vulnerability of the population, its resistance to the current rate of climate change, and the level and speed of adaptation. In the long term, the impact will increasingly depend on the extent to which transition actions are taken today to reduce emissions and avoid defaults.
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