News / Health

WHO: Climate Change Brings New Health Threats

A villager carrying a child crosses a flooded area in the Jorhat district, in the Indian state of Assam, August 25, 2014, where the latest heavy rains have caused landslides and floods.
A villager carrying a child crosses a flooded area in the Jorhat district, in the Indian state of Assam, August 25, 2014, where the latest heavy rains have caused landslides and floods.
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Wednesday that major killer diseases will spread and health problems will worsen with climate change.  

The WHO, which is holding the first global conference on health and climate in Geneva, urged nations to act quickly to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, which lead to climate change.  

Although some countries could see localized benefits from global warming -- cold countries could experience fewer winter deaths due to more temperate weather as well as increased food production -- the WHO says overall health effects are likely to be overwhelmingly negative.  

Maria Neira, director of the Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health Department at WHO, says seven million people die prematurely every year because of air pollution, but that number can be cut.  

“We can reduce dramatically non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular diseases, heart disease, respiratory diseases, by promoting, for instance a more sustainable, low-carbon society where instead of using very pollutant and solid fuels," Neira said, "we will move into a more sustainable energy consumption and, therefore, by doing so, we will obtain plenty of benefits for our health.”  

The health community is working to improve surveillance to control infectious diseases and she says deadly diseases such as cholera, malaria and dengue are highly sensitive to weather and climate.

Recent WHO figures show that climate change already causes tens of thousands of deaths every year from shifting patterns of disease and extreme weather events, such as heat waves and floods.

Climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths every year between 2030 and 2050 due to heat exposure, diarrhea, malaria, and childhood under-nutrition.

Alistair Woodward, the coordinating lead author of the health chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says there is opportunity for positive change.

“Transport systems, which produce maybe a quarter of the greenhouse emissions, are unhealthy and damaging to the environment in many ways," Woodward said. "If we could increase the use of active transport, our estimates are putting people on bikes, the benefit cost ratio is maybe 10 to one…Air pollution…If we put in practice what we know about ways of reducing black carbon emissions, diesel filters, plain cook stoves, for example, then we could probably save around two million premature deaths a year.”  

The WHO notes that climate change also has serious economic consequences. The U.N. agency says the direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between $2 billion and $4 billion a year by 2030. 

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 28, 2014 5:20 PM
Climate change is a threat of humanity but can prevernir and anticipate its effects

by: mememine69 from: Toronto
August 28, 2014 8:49 AM
Besides being an excuse to hissy fit hate neocons, climate blame was a lazy copy and paste news editor's dream come true. Times up girls. Is science also only 95% sure the planet isn't flat as well as being a laughable 95% certain that Human CO2 "could" flatten it? Exaggeration and misguided concern and 32 years of needless CO2 panic and CO2 death threats to billions of innocent children has made fear mongering neocons out of all of us. Nice work.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More