WHO Includes Climate Change among Global Health Risks
16 December 2009: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a report titled "Global Health Risks," an assessment of leading risks to global health that provides detailed global and regional estimates of premature mortality, disability and loss of health attributable to 24 global risk factors, including climate change.
According to the report, potential risks to health related to climate change include deaths from thermal extremes and weather disasters, vector-borne diseases, a higher incidence of food-related and waterborne infections, photochemical air pollutants and conflict over depleted natural resources. It notes that climate change will have the greatest effect on health in societies with scarce resources, little technology and frail infrastructure. The authors caution that only some of the many potential effects of climate change are fully quantifiable. Climate change is estimated to be responsible worldwide in 2004 for: 3% of diarrhea; 3% of malaria; 3.8% of dengue fever deaths; and 0.2% of total attributable mortality, of which 85% were child deaths. [The Report]