Kolkata, Jan 6: Climate Change is adversely affecting human health by increasing exposure and vulnerability to climate related stresses.
Observed and detected climatic changes that affect human health include extreme weather events, a changing distribution of health risks, increased risks of malnutrition, displacement of populations and greater risks of injuries, disease and death.
Any increase in global warming, even an increase by half a degree, could affect human health. Global Warming of 1.5°C is not considered ‘safe’ for most nations, communities, ecosystems and sectors and poses significant risks to natural and human systems. Risks to human health and food production systems are projected to be lower at global warming of 1.5°C than that of 2°C. Risks are projected to be lower at global warming of 1.5°C than that of 2°C in view of heat-related morbidity and mortality, ozone-related mortality, and malnutrition.
The impacts of global warming of 1.5°C could disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food and water insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements. Over the last 50 years, the global climate is changing as the Earth becomes warmer. Atmospheric concentrations of both the natural and man-made gases have been rising over the last few centuries due to the industrial revolution. Human activities have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases to affect global climate.
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Many greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and nitrous oxide, while others are synthetic. Those that are man-made include the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Emissions of these gases have risen because of increased use of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and natural gas). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines climate change as ‘a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. (UNI)