POST TIME: 15 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Climate change poses lifelong child health risk, warn experts
AFP, Paris

Climate change poses lifelong child health risk, warn experts

Climate change will damage the health of an entire generation unless there are immediate cuts to fossil fuel emissions, from a rise in deadly infectious diseases to surging malnutrition, experts warned yesterday. Children across the world were already suffering the ill effects of air pollution and extreme weather events, said The Lancet Countdown in its annual report on the impact of climate change on human health.

And far worse is to come for future generations, it warned: air-borne diseases, malnutrition due to mass crop failures, and even mental and physical trauma from increased flash flooding and wildfires. The Lancet Countdown is a coalition of 35 institutions including the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Their warning comes as some of Australia’s worst wildfires in living memory continue to burn across its eastern seaboard, and after a global youth strike inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. August was the hottest month ever recorded and Earth has already warmed one degree Celsius (1.8 Farenheit) since industrialisation.

The Paris Climate treaty of 2015 enjoins nations to limit temperature rises to 2C, or preferably to 1.5C if possible. Yet emissions continue to rise year on year, putting Earth on a path that could lead to a 4C temperature rise by the end of the century—bringing peril for human health.

The report said “nothing short” of a 7.4 percent year-on-year cut in CO2 emissions until 2050 would limit global warming to 1.5C. “A kid born today has an average global life expectancy of 71 years so that brings them to 2090. That means that kid will experience a 4C world,” Nick Watts, executive director of The Lancet Countdown, told AFP.