Climate change changes health, but there is a lack of money: WHO

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Climate change is damaging human health as more people suffer from heat stress, bad weather and mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

PHOTO FILE: A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

The agency recommended UN, in a report issued a day after a climate summit in Madrid, governments to achieve ambitious targets to reduce heat carbon emissions by saying that one million lives a year could be saved by lower air pollution alone. .

“Health is paying the price of the climate crisis. Why? Because of the causes of climate change due to our lungs, our brain, our cardiovascular systems that overlap the causes of air pollution, ”said Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. the WHO news information.

But less than 1% of international funding for climate action goes to the health sector, she said, “it was very serious”.

Global temperatures could rise dramatically this century with "far-reaching and devastating" consequences after reaching greenhouse gas emissions last year, international climate experts warned last week.

“WHO considers climate change to be the biggest health threat for the 21st Century,” said WHO expert Diarmaid Campbell-Lendrum.

“This is because we will continue to reduce our food supplies, water supplies and air quality unless we determine our carbon emissions,” he said.

The same sources cause air pollution and climate change, Campbell-Lendrum said, adding: “Two-thirds of exposure to outdoor air pollution is burning fossil fuels.”

“The WHO estimates that over 7 million people die every year from indoor and outdoor air pollution. That is where the victory is great, ”he said.

Around 101 WHO countries surveyed the risks of climate change – but not major players including India and the United States.

“More than two-thirds have considered increased risks from heat stress, injury and death from bad weather, food, water and vector-borne diseases and those from everything from cholera to malaria, t ”Campbell-Lendrum said.

Stephanie Nebehay reporting; Edited by Hugh Lawson

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