Climate Change: One Billion Deaths to be Avoided

Climate Change: One Billion Deaths to be Avoided
Fecha de publicación: 
13 September 2023
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One billion people are likely to die prematurely over the next century if global warming reaches or exceeds 2ºC by then.

This is corroborated by a research from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, one of whose authors, Professor Joshua Pearce, categorically states: "This mass death is clearly unacceptable. It really is quite terrifying, especially for our children."

The authors of the study estimate that enearly 1,000 tons of fossil carbon is burned, it creates the conditions for a future premature death.

It so happens that climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century, as warned by this and other scientific studies and international organizations.

The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, agriculture and other human activities have caused an increase in global average temperature of 1.1°C since pre-industrial times, which has altered weather patterns and generated extreme events such as droughts, floods , fires, storms, and heat waves.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 2030 and 2050, this phenomenon will cause an additional 250,000 deaths each year due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress, in addition to increasing the risk of infectious, respiratory, cardiovascular and mental diseases.

In addition, it’s estimated that the cost of direct damage to health will be between US$2,000 and US$4,000 million a year between now and 2030. And all these harmful effects are distributed unequally between countries and populations, being the most poor and vulnerable who suffer the most.

The climate crisis threatens to undo the last fifty years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction, and to further widen existing health inequalities.

Looking into the Future

The UN Environment and the WHO have signed an agreement to intensify joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, among other environmental problems that affect health.

Both organizations urge political, business, and social leaders to take urgent measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the transition towards a green and circular economy.

António Guterres, UN Secretary General, urges all countries to increase their efforts to improve air quality and commit to better control of sources of air pollution.

The latest scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insists on the urgency of acting. Consequently, the Secretary General of the United Nations has convened a Summit on Climate Ambition, at the UN headquarters, New York, on September 20, 2023.

According to the official website of that international organization, the Summit "represents a fundamental political milestone since it demonstrates that it’s the intention of the world collective to accelerate the pace and scale of a fair transition towards a climate-resilient world economy, based on renewable energy more equitable".

It would then be worth parodying that bitter Latin phrase, written in The Twelve Caesars, by the Roman historian Suetonius, and announcing, this time with optimism: Hail Summit, the billions who could die prematurely, greet you.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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