Paris: 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 Thursday. 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 report, compiled by 120 experts, used the latest available data and climate modelling to predict global health trends as the mercury climbs throughout the decades. In the last 30 years, the global yield potential of staple crops such as maize, winter wheat and rice, have all declined, putting infants and small children at heightened risk of malnutrition. Infant malnutrition impacts every stage of a child's life, stunting growth, weakening the immune system and throwing up long-term developmental problems.
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