|CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH: IPCC REPORTS EMERGING RISKS, EMERGING CONSENSUS|
Aruba, April 8, 2014 - The consequences of human-driven global climate change as this century progresses will be wide-ranging. Yet public discussion has focused narrowly on a largely spurious debate about the basic science and on the risks to property, iconic species and ecosystems, jobs, the GDP and the economics of taking action versus taking our chances.
Missing from the discussion is the threat climate change poses to Earth’s life-support system – from declines in regional food yields, freshwater shortage, damage to settlements from extreme weather events and loss of habitable, especially coastal, land. The list goes on: changes in infectious disease patterns and the mental health consequences of trauma, loss, displacement and resource conflict.
In short, human-driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale, to well-being, health and perhaps even to human survival.
Extreme weather events have contributed to a rise in global food prices. 'Palm Trees, Wind and Ocean' by Brooke/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
The human health chapter in the second (“Impacts”) volume of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report concludes that the scientific evidence of many current and future risks to health has strengthened in recent years. The chapter, as in all IPCC reports, reviews all existing scientific evidence and is subject to external peer-review.