What is Climate Change?
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies climate change as the biggest health threat facing humanity. But what is climate change? Climate refers to the long-term regional or global average of temperature, humidity, and rainfall, and climate change refers to both human and naturally produced warming. Since the pre-industrial period, human activity has increased Earth’s global average temperature by 1℃ (1.8℉), a pattern that continues to increase by 0.2℃ (0.36℉) per decade.
Climate change impacts human health both directly and indirectly, and is strongly mediated by environmental, social, and public health determinants. Every year, environmental factors take the lives of ~13 million people worldwide. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause ~250,000 additional deaths per year worldwide, as a result of various causes including malnutrition, infectious disease, and heat stress.
Climate change compounds the existing burden of disease and exacerbates existing barriers to health service access. Given the impact the climate crisis has upon human health, it is critical that we take action.
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