Wednesday January 29, 2020
Home Environment Human Health ...

Human Health Affected due to Climate Change: WHO

As Lungs Pay Cost of Dirty Fuels, UN Urges Action on Climate Health Risks

0
//
Pollution- climate crisis
Climate crisis has increased due to air pollution and people are facing lung and heart-related problems. VOA

Human health is paying the price of the world’s failure to curb global warming, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday, urging governments at U.N. climate talks to cut climate-changing emissions faster and provide funds to address growing threats.

Those range from lung and heart problems caused by toxic air to deaths in storms and wildfires, and the expansion of dengue, malaria, cholera and other diseases spread by mosquitoes and contaminated water.

“The cost of not taking enough action at the climate summit … is paid by my lungs and your lungs,” said Maria Neira, director of the department of environment, climate change and health at the World Health Organization (WHO), a U.N. agency.

The causes of climate change and air pollution overlap, she added, calling for societies to “decarbonize,” including by ditching coal as a source of power and heat, and ending subsidies for the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

According to the WHO, the burning of oil, gas and coal is responsible for two-thirds of the outdoor air pollution that causes about 4 million premature deaths each year.

More intense and longer heat waves are another growing health problem in many parts of the world.

A study published in the journal Nature on Monday found extreme heat in the United States from 1969-1988 caused an increase in deliveries of babies on the day it hit and the day after, with those births happening up to two weeks before they were due.

Such early births can potentially harm children’s later development, researchers said.

Mozambique Cyclone- climate
An aerial photo shows local residents walk on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique due to climate change. VOA

At the Madrid climate talks Tuesday, activists and aid agencies cited a rise in hospital emissions linked to smoke from Australia’s recent bushfires.

In southern African countries hit by Cyclone Idai this year, they said, people are struggling to feed their families after fields and homes were destroyed.

To deal with the rising human and financial health costs of climate change, health services and related institutions need a boost in funding — currently sorely lacking, the WHO said.

On Tuesday, it released a report highlighting how countries are increasingly prioritizing dealing with climate change threats to health.

Half of about 100 nations surveyed said they had developed a national strategy or plan to tackle the risks.

Paying for improvements

But only about 38% had finances in place to even partially implement their plans, and fewer than 10% had the money to put them fully into practice, the report showed.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, WHO’s coordinator for climate change and health, said all countries surveyed — from Europe to the Americas, Africa and Asia — are struggling to finance measures such as protecting hospitals from weather disasters and ramping up disease surveillance.

In richer countries, the difficulty lies in securing allocations from national budgets due to competing priorities.

Poorer nations, on the other hand, need international climate finance to help them cope, but are struggling to access it because of a lack of information, capacity and connections.

As a result, less than half a percent of international climate finance has gone to projects to head off climate risks to health, Campbell-Lendrum said.

Heat Wave
Due to the climate crisis, tourists hold umbrellas to shelter from the sun as they walk past the Colosseum, in Rome. VOA

“These countries are exposed, they are vulnerable and they are unsupported,” he added.

Smart hospitals

The WHO plans to help developing countries put together projects to bolster their health systems that can secure backing from international climate funds, he added.

One of the biggest potential sources of finance, the Green Climate Fund, has identified health and well being as a priority area but has yet to approve any projects with that focus, Campbell-Lendrum noted.

Things that could be financed might include “smart hospitals” — now being tested in the Caribbean — built to withstand strong winds and floods while also harvesting rainwater and running on solar power.

Off-grid renewable energy projects also can cut emissions from health facilities and make them more resilient in disasters when electricity networks go down, Campbell-Lendrum said.

He noted that the mental health impacts of climate change had “shot up the agenda.”

Also Read- China- Top Contributor in Global Warming

The effects can range from the trauma of going through disasters to the shock of being made homeless, or young people feeling anxious and frustrated about climate change.

Once a “hidden issue,” it is “the one that we have heard the most about in the past four to five months,” he told journalists in Madrid. (VOA)

Next Story

Amazon Employees Risk Their Jobs by Criticizing Amazon’s Record on Climate Change

Workers Criticize Amazon on Climate Despite Risk to Jobs

0
Amazon employees
Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. VOA

Hundreds of employees are openly criticizing Amazon’s record on climate change despite what they say is a company policy that puts their jobs at risk for speaking out.

On Sunday, more than 300 employees of the online retail giant signed their names and job titles to statements on blog post on Medium. The online protest was organized by a group called Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, an advocacy group founded by Amazon workers that earlier this month said the company had sent letters to its members threatening to fire them if they continued to speak to the press.

“It’s our moral responsibility to speak up, and the changes to the communications policy are censoring us from exercising that responsibility,” said Sarah Tracy, a software development engineer at Amazon, in a statement.

Amazon employees at the company logistics centre in Boves
The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France. VOA

Amazon said that its policy on external communications is not new and is in keeping with other large companies. It said the policy applies to all Amazon employees and is not directed at any specific group.

“While all employees are welcome to engage constructively with any of the many teams inside the company that work on sustainability and other topics, we do enforce our external communications policy and will not allow employees to publicly disparage or misrepresent the company or the hard work of their colleagues who are developing solutions to these hard problems,” according to a spokesperson from the company.

Amazon, which relies on fossil fuels to power the planes, trucks and vans that ship packages all over the world, has an enormous carbon footprint. And its workers have been vocal in criticizing some of the company’s practices.

Also Read- Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

Last year, more than 8,000 staffers signed an open letter to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos demanding that it cut its carbon emissions, end its use of fossil fuels and stop its work with oil companies that use Amazon’s technology to locate fossil fuel deposits.

The company said in a statement that it is passionate about climate change issues and has already pledged to become net zero carbon by 2040 and use 100% renewable energy by 2030. (VOA)