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14 mei 2009

Klimaatverandering bedreigt de volksgezondheid wereldwijd

Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century
By Joe Romm, Climate Progress, May 14, 2009

The Lancet medical journal and the University College London (UCL) Institute for Global Health have just released the final report of their year-long commission (every link you could want is here, key factoids below). It represents one of the most definitive statements to date on the current and future health impacts of global warming.

The report makes clear that the 'full impact' of climate change to human health 'is not being grasped by the healthcare community or policymakers.' Indeed, the lead author, Anthony Costello, a pediatrician and director of UCL Institute for Global Health, said that 'he had not realised the full ramifications of climate change on health until 18 months ago.' Now he describes the threat as 'clear and present danger' affecting 'billions of people' not just polar bears and tropical forests. The health impacts will be felt 'all around the world - and not just in some distant future but in our lifetimes and those of our children.'

The report notes that 'climate change will have devastating consequences for human health from':
- changing patterns of infections and insect-borne diseases, and increased deaths due to heat waves;
- reduced water and food security, leading to malnutrition and diarrhoeal disease;
- an increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme climate events (hurricanes, cyclones, storm surges) causing flooding and direct injury;
- increasing vulnerability for those living in urban slums and where shelter and human settlements are poor;
- large scale population migration and the likelihood of civil unrest.

Also see:

Climate Change: The Century's Biggest Health Threat?
By Martin Mittelstaedt, The Globe and Mail, May 21, 2009

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