Climate Change and Health

November 29, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 42
Is the threat to humans growing?
By Lola Butcher

Introduction

Scientists warn that a warming planet threatens human health. A United Nations agency estimates climate change will cause 250,000 additional deaths annually between 2030 and 2050. The threat is multifaceted. Prolonged droughts are causing malnutrition in Africa, while extreme heat is leading to spikes in heat stroke in places as diverse as Baltimore and Paris. Across the globe, changing climes are worsening allergies and increasing the deadly reach of illnesses such as malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus. But consensus is lacking about what to do. Some experts argue the threat is exaggerated because people will adapt to the changing climate. Others say nations must quickly reduce carbon emissions to limit global warming and protect human health. Environmental activists are amplifying that message. One survey found that respondents ranked climate change as the top threat in 13 of 26 countries polled. In the United States, however, only 27 percent of Republicans — versus 83 percent of Democrats — view climate change as a major threat.

Karachi, Pakistan (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Sabir Mazhar)
Karachi, Pakistan, was left under water after Cyclone Kyarr passed over the city on Oct. 28. Climatologists warn that the effects of a warming climate, including greater flooding from stronger cyclones and hurricanes, will increase the spread of water-borne diseases, endangering the health of millions of people. (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Sabir Mazhar)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Environmental Protection
Nov. 29, 2019  Climate Change and Health
Sep. 20, 2019  Extreme Weather
Dec. 07, 2018  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 02, 2016  Arctic Development
Apr. 22, 2016  Managing Western Lands
Jul. 18, 2014  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Sep. 20, 2013  Future of the Arctic
Jun. 14, 2013  Climate Change
Nov. 06, 2012  Vanishing Biodiversity
Nov. 02, 2012  Managing Wildfires
Nov. 04, 2011  Managing Public Lands
Aug. 26, 2011  Gulf Coast Restoration
Jul. 2010  Plastic Pollution
Feb. 2010  Climate Change
Jan. 09, 2009  Confronting Warming
Dec. 05, 2008  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Nov. 2008  Carbon Trading
Oct. 03, 2008  Protecting Wetlands
Feb. 29, 2008  Buying Green
Dec. 14, 2007  Future of Recycling
Nov. 30, 2007  Disappearing Species
Feb. 2007  Curbing Climate Change
Dec. 01, 2006  The New Environmentalism
Jan. 27, 2006  Climate Change
Oct. 25, 2002  Bush and the Environment
Oct. 05, 2001  Invasive Species
Nov. 05, 1999  Saving Open Spaces
Jun. 11, 1999  Saving the Rain Forests
May 21, 1999  Setting Environmental Priorities
Mar. 19, 1999  Partisan Politics
Oct. 16, 1998  National Forests
Jun. 19, 1998  Environmental Justice
Aug. 23, 1996  Cleaning Up Hazardous Wastes
Mar. 31, 1995  Environmental Movement at 25
Jun. 19, 1992  Lead Poisoning
May 15, 1992  Jobs Vs. Environment
Jan. 17, 1992  Oil Spills
Sep. 20, 1991  Saving the Forests
Apr. 26, 1991  Electromagnetic Fields: Are They Dangerous?
Sep. 08, 1989  Free Market Environmental Protection
Dec. 09, 1988  Setting Environmental Priorities
Jul. 29, 1988  Living with Hazardous Wastes
Dec. 20, 1985  Requiem for Rain Forests?
Aug. 17, 1984  Protecting the Wilderness
Jun. 15, 1984  Troubled Ocean Fisheries
Aug. 19, 1983  America's Disappearing Wetlands
Feb. 22, 1980  Noise Control
Nov. 16, 1979  Closing the Environmental Decade
Oct. 13, 1978  Toxic Substance Control
Feb. 27, 1976  Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits
Nov. 28, 1975  Forest Policy
May 30, 1975  Wilderness Preservation
Dec. 20, 1974  Environmental Policy
Nov. 14, 1973  Strip Mining
Dec. 01, 1971  Global Pollution
Jul. 21, 1971  Protection of the Countryside
Jan. 06, 1971  Pollution Technology
Jun. 19, 1968  Protection of the Environment
Oct. 30, 1963  Noise Suppression
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Climate Change
Environmentalism
Hospitals
Humanitarian Assistance
Infectious Diseases
Natural Disasters
Refugees