Climate change, air pollution causing millions of premature deaths: Study

Updated:1 month, 2 weeks ago IST

New Delhi, Dec 02 (ANI): Climate change and air pollution are causing millions of premature deaths, a recent study suggests. The result of the research shows that rising temperatures as a result of climate change are already exposing us to an unacceptably high health risk and warns, for the first time, that older people in Europe and the East Mediterranean are particularly vulnerable to extremes of heat, markedly higher than in Africa and SE Asia. Since air pollution and greenhouse gases often share common sources, mitigating climate change constitutes a major opportunity for direct human health benefits. Large contributions to ambient air pollution come from the residential sector, mostly from solid fuels like biomass and coal. Industry, electricity generation, transport, and agriculture are also important contributors. While coal should be a key target for early phase-out in households and electricity generation as it is highly polluting, it is not all that should be done. Rising temperatures and unseasonable warmth is responsible for cholera and dengue fever spreading, with vectorial capacity for their transmission increasing across many endemic areas. This means global temperature change to which humans are exposed is more than double the global average change, with temperatures rising 0.8°C versus 0.3°C.The report, which looks at 41 separate indicators across a range of themes, says urgent steps are needed to protect people now from the impacts of climate change. In particular, stronger labor regulations are needed to protect workers from extremes of heat and hospitals and the health systems we rely on the need to be better equipped for extreme heat so they are able to cope. The report also stresses that there are limits to adapting to the temperature increases, and if left unabated, climate change and heat will overwhelm even the strongest of systems, so the need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical.

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