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Friday 28th October 2016

Carbon footprint health risks

3rd March 2010

Dr Tony Waterston, consultant paediatrician and chair of the Advocacy Committee, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says reducing global warming has crucial health benefits.


Climate change is high on the agenda at present, but little is said in the media about climate change and health despite growing evidence that health is being affected.

More health professionals are accepting that lives are being lost by global warming and recognising the potential health benefits of a low carbon lifestyle.

The Lancet has in the past year reported on how children are already dying in large numbers in poor countries as a result of a warming world as the threat of increased malnutrition and malaria, flooding and diarrhoeal disease looms.

Worst affected areas are Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, in particular Bangladesh, and low-lying island states in the Pacific.

By the 2050s, says the World Health Organisation, climate change is projected to increase the percentage of the population of Mali at risk of hunger from 34% to 64-72%.

More frequent droughts and flooding will affect crops, malaria and dengue fever will spread and mothers will become ill or die, subsequently impacting on their children.

Doctors are determined to help their patients and the government understand that low carbon living offers a great future.

Through the Climate and Health Council (CHC), top doctors in the UK are calling on the NHS to reduce its carbon footprint and the government to set higher targets for reduction of carbon emissions to avoid a worsening health crisis worldwide.

They are also curbing their love of travelling by holding video conferences instead.


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