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Wednesday 26th October 2016

The biggest threat to health is the climate

15th May 2009

Climate change has been highlighted as the biggest global threat to health in the 21st century.


The Lancet and researchers from University College London (UCL) have conducted a detailed study into the impact.

Their report focuses on the need for public health services to adapt and also highlights the consequences of climate-related mass migrations.

UCL climatologist Professor Mark Maslin said: "The medical profession has to wake up if we're going to save billions of lives. This is why it's in the Lancet."

Themes looked at by the researchers include the need of the healthcare infrastructure to adapt to a warmer world, local knowledge of climate change effects on health being essential, and the value of adding the healthcare lobby's weight to the call for decisive action from politicians and policymakers on climate and carbon mitigation issues.

Professor Maslin described the document as "the Stern report for medics", referring to the 2006 review that outlined the future impacts of the climate change situation in economic terms and the need for early action.

Lead author Professor Anthony Costello from the Institute for Global Health said: "Apart from a small dedicated band of researchers, I think the health lobby has come late to this debate, but there's much that we can do to protect billions of people now and in the future."

There are fears that climate change will widen the divide between rich and poor, hitting the poorest communities first and will combine with climatic effects to cause instability of food and water supplies.


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