In 2008, poor air quality alone, including from oil and gas production, cost Canada about $8-billion, according to a report by the Canadian Medical Association. By 2031, those costs are expected to rise to $250-billion….almost 90,000 people will have died from the acute effects of air pollution,” the CMA said. (Source: The Globe and Mail).
The 2014 US National Climate Assessment outlined the human health implications of a warming planet. Our changing climate will produce severe health impacts which “will manifest in varying ways in different parts of the world,” states the report.
Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impact from extreme weather events, wildfires, decreased air quality, threats to mental health and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks.
Climate Change – the Medical Crisis
As reported in Citizens’ Climate Lobby Laser Talks ~ Rolly Montpellier, Editor for BoomerWarrior
The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warned in the Lancet in June 2015.
The [Health and Climate Change] report said direct health impacts of climate change come from more frequent and intense extreme weather events, while indirect impacts come from changes in infectious disease patterns, air pollution, food insecurity and malnutrition, displacement and conflicts.
The good news is the panel also said burning fewer fossil fuels reduces respiratory diseases, for example, and getting people walking and cycling more cuts pollution, road accidents and rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Previously, Canadian Health associations sounded the alarm about the health impacts of climate change. In June 2014, Dr. Eilish Cleary, Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick, expressed the necessity of considering human health when making decisions about emissions. She said, “There hasn’t been adequate recognition by all levels of policy-makers and decision-makers that it is really a problem that we have to do something about.” Nova Scotia’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang concurred, adding that the discourse has been too focused on adaptation to the exclusion of mitigation planning.
Public health officials know: if you are concerned about public health you should also be concerned about climate change. If we want to prevent the health consequences of climate change and a medical crisis, we need to work to decrease our fossil fuel emissions. That’s why Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax: carbon fee and dividend as proposed by MP Bruce Hyer repeatedly in the House of Commons since November 2013. The return of 100% of the proceeds from the tax is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine of a carbon tax go down smoothly. It’s time to take action.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and a Climate Activist. Rolly has been published widely – Toronto Star, The Hill Times, Kingston Whig, the PEN, UnpublishedOttawa, Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, County Weekly News.
He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa). You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
I think we will be amazed at how much water will play into all this, with or without climate change but assuredly with.
Danny – water will become the oil of the future. Nations will fight over water. Indeed neighbors will fight over water. Another 2 billion people on the way in the next 3.5 decades will make water the most precious resource on the planet.
Of course climate change will have a huge impact on our health.
Most people in the temperate zone aren’t aware of the many horrible diseases & parasites that torture humans or even kill them in the warmer parts of the world.
As a sampler, there are human bot flies that lay maggots on us that burrow into our skin, there are worms that live inside us, eating us or our food, some can get into the brain & eat the brain until we die, there is malaria, sleeping sickness, hookworm, pin worm, tape worms, eye worms, liver flukes & many many more & that’s just a small sample of the parasites, then there are the diseases like dengue, diarrhea caused by all kinds of nasties, oriental sore, Listerlosis, tetanus, leptospirosis, leprosy etc etc etc, all eager to move north & infect US.
Children & us will have to stop walking barefoot as some parasites can infect us through the soles of our feet, we will have to stop swimming in lakes, streams & rivers, too many diseases & parasites will be waiting for us there as well & not just brain eating amoeba & alligator turtles. We will have to protect ourselves from mosquitoes as they too will be carrying diseases they didn’t use to carry like malaria, dengue & others.
Life will be very different for us in a warmer world.
It was diseases that kept Africa down as well as a lack of domesticatable animals, lack of metal ores & fossil fuels, not lack of brains.
Sheila – thank you for you response to the article. You are quite right in pointing out the spread of diseases through various bacteria, insects, parasites, etc that will spread to new zones as these warm up. Kind of creepy when you stop to think about it. As I recall, you’re from Oregon. I’m from Ottawa which is not much further North.
So far most of the narrative and dialogue around climate action has to do with the reduction of emissions. That will be the focus of the climate talks in Paris. If we can reduce emissions, I repeat, “if we reduce emissions”, there is likely to be little effect on the looming health crises that await us because there’s already enough CO2 in the pipeline, pardon the pun, to keep the planet on its warming trend for decades before it starts to get cooler.