A CHILD born today faces multiple lifelong health risks from climate change – growing up in a warmer world with risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods and extreme heat – a major global study has found.
Climate change is already harming people’s health by increasing the number of extreme weather events and exacerbating air pollution, according to the study published in The Lancet medical journal.
If nothing is done to mitigate it, its impacts could burden an entire generation with disease and illness throughout their lives.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate. Their bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants,” said Nick Watts, who co-led The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change study.
He warned that health damage in early childhood is “persistent and pervasive”, and carries lifelong consequences.
“Without immediate action from all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, gains in wellbeing and life expectancy will be compromised, and climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation,” he said.
But if people limit emissions and cap global warming, the outcome could be different. In that scenario, a child born today would see the end of coal use in Britain by their 6th birthday, for example, and the world reaching net-zero emissions by the time they were 31 years old.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 27 November 2019)
The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change
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