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Covid recovery poses severe climate, health risks: Report

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The Lancet Countdown is the largest annual study of the effects of climate change on human health. (file)

Paris:

Countries’ recovery from fossil fuel-powered Covid-19 will have long-lasting consequences on human health and food and water insecurity, heatwaves and infectious diseases already threaten billions of people globally, a major The appraisal warned on Thursday.

The Lancet Countdown is the largest annual study of the effects of climate change on human health.

It found that up to 19 percent of Earth’s landmass was affected by extreme drought in 2020 and warned that climate change posed a major threat to food security, which already affects more than two billion people.

Compared to the historical average, the global population over 65 survived 3.1 billion additional days of extreme heat last year, it found.

The populations of 134 countries are now at greater risk from wildfires than ever before, and millions of farmers and construction workers are losing income due to an increasing number of extremely hot days.

And climate change a few decades ago and in a large part of the world, including Europe, is creating ideal conditions for infectious diseases such as dengue fever, Zika virus, cholera and malaria, it said.

“Climate change is here and we are already seeing it harm human health around the world,” said Anthony Costello, executive director of Lancet Countdown.

“As the Covid-19 crisis continues, every country is also facing some aspect of the climate crisis.”

‘Black Outlook’

The assessment found that the most drought-hit regions have had five years since 2015.

Disruption of the water cycle due to global warming shortens the time for plants to mature, resulting in smaller yields, putting further pressure on food production.

The Lancet said the yield potential of maize – a global staple – had already dropped by 6 percent compared to 1981-2010 levels.

Wheat has seen a potential decline of 3 per cent, and rice has seen a decline of 1.8 per cent.

and seafood on which 3.3. Billions of people either dependent for a livelihood or income are under “increasing danger”, with average sea temperatures rising in about 70 percent of territorial waters compared to only 15 years ago.

The report also warned that nearly three quarters of the countries surveyed said they believed they could not afford a unified national health and climate strategy.

“This year we saw people suffering from intense heat, deadly floods and wildfires,” said lead author Maria Romanello.

“These are dire warnings that, every day as we delay our response to climate change, the situation becomes more dire.

“It’s time to realize that no one is safe from the effects of climate change.”

In an editorial, the Lancet called on world leaders at the upcoming COP26 summit to reduce some of the trillions being spent on recovery from Covid-19 to reduce inequality and protect health.

“This year’s indicators give a bleak outlook: global inequalities are rising, and the direction of travel is deteriorating across all health outcomes.”

AFP received a draft of an assessment on the impacts of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in June.

It warned that rising temperatures would add tens of millions more to disease, drought and disease by 2050.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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