KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The climate crisis is affecting people’s health and may lead to more severe impacts in the future, a report by European science academies said.
The Guardian reported that heatwaves and floods will kill more people as extreme weather increases, but climate change has serious indirect effects as well, like spreading mosquito-borne diseases and affecting mental health.
“There are impacts occurring now [and], over the coming century, climate change has to be ranked as one of the most serious threats to health,” Prof Sir Andrew Haines, a co-chair of the report for the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), was quoted saying.
The EASAC report titled “The Imperative of Climate Action to Protect Human Health in Europe” projected mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, substance abuse, and depression, in the long term from extreme weather like heatwaves, floods and droughts.
The report predicted the spread of infectious diseases in Europe amid rising temperatures that expand the range of mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever and ticks causing Lyme disease.
Food poisoning may also go up because salmonella bacteria thrives in warmer conditions, while antibiotic resistance in E coli may increase in hotter temperatures, said the report.
“We are subjecting young people and future generations to these increasing [health] risks for many hundreds of years to come, if not millennia,” Haines was quoted saying.
The report also found benefits from cutting carbon emissions, especially in reducing the 350,000 early deaths annually from air pollution in Europe due to burning fossil fuels.
“The economic benefits of action to address the current and prospective health effects of climate change are likely to be substantial,” said the report.
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last November that climate breakdown was already a health crisis.
“We cannot delay action on climate change. We cannot sleepwalk through this health emergency any longer,” he was quoted saying.