Health adaptation to cost up to US$ 5billion by 2020

June 18, 2011

If we don’t act now by plugging holes in public health system along with addressing housing, water woes and air pollution, says WHO 

By Aditya Ghosh

Bonn, June 15: Investing on public health to strengthen weak areas that would be vulnerable to climate induced changes must start immediately to avoid major health catastrophe, epidemic and long term health hazards. A report by the World Health Organisation that draws from seven pilot studies across seven countries in the Europe and Central Asia said that the work has to start now to avoid more expensive intervention later.

Greener investments in transport, housing and household energy policies can help prevent significant cardiovascular and chronic respiratory disease, obesity-related conditions and cancers, said another WHO report.

The pilots were carried out in Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.

The lessons range from simply augmenting water supplies to public health centres and hospitals to carrying out detailed epidemiological studies in certain areas to be better prepared for climate induced illnesses.

These sites were selected after modeling them against Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports about climate threats that these regions would face with temperature increase, changing rainfall patterns and glacier melting.

Another WHO series looked systematically, for the first time ever, at the health 'co-benefits' of investments in climate change mitigation reviewed by the IPCC. The report claimed that overall, sustainable development policies in housing, transport, and household energy may benefit health right away - even if the broader climate gains are realized over years or decades.

The report also recommends climate experts, including the IPCC, need to put health at the center of mitigation efforts.

For example, in the case of more climate-friendly housing, the immediate savings in health care costs from home energy-efficiencies and home insulation programmes may be so large that they could rapidly repay investments made ? even if savings in greenhouse gas emissions take longer to realize. The report on housing, the first full report of the series to be issued, was released on June 14.

Many forms of asthma and allergies, as well as heart disease and strokes related to increasingly intense heat waves and cold spells could be addressed by more climate-friendly housing measures, the report found.

For instance, about 4 per cent of the annual ischaemic heart disease (IHD) disease burden among African and Latin American adults over 30 could be avoided by 2020 with introduction of more advanced biomass or biogas stoves in pace with the same UN universal energy access target. Here, too, many health benefits will be realized over a course of several years, due to the chronic nature of the disease.

 

Hard evidence
 
World Banks’ double-handedness
imageA report released by Friends of the Earth shows how the World Bank hit a new record in 2010 for annual fossil fuel lending at $4.7 billion, increasing its coal-related spending alone by 256 percent. The World Bank has now been made a trustee of the Green Climate Fund which will administer the flow of funds from developed to developing countries to cope with climate change, which includes deploying 'clean energy' solutions.

See full report »

 


Highest ever recorded GHG emissions were reached in 2010
imageThe world CO2 emissions have hit a record high in 2010 at 30.6 gigatonnes, according to a recent study by the IEA. This is a 5% increase from previous record of 29.3 Gt in 2008. An IEA scenario sets the emissions limit at 32 Gigatonnes for 2020 in order to stay within the “safe” 2 degrees Celsius rise. This means that the rise in emissions for the next 10 years needs to be lesser than that between 2009 and 2010.

See full report >>

 


A Financial Transaction Tax could effectively address climate finance woes
imageA new report from CIDSE throws light on how the climate financing challenge can be met by taxing global financial transactions. A financial transaction tax, such as this, introduced at a mere .05% could raise up to US$ 6661.1 billion.

See full report »

 


Climate change will mean lesser water availability for food production new FAO report warns
imageA comprehensive survey of existing literature points to the impacts that climate change will have on water used in agriculture. Those dependent on glacial melt water for irrigation will be heavily impacted; this covers 40% of the world’s population. The report, although issues a risk warning for both rural livelihoods and food security of city populations, states the rural poor will be the most vulnerable.

See full report »

 


South Asia and parts of Africa are amongst climate hotspots where food supplies will be worst hit
imageThe study which maps out regions based on sensitivity to and capacity to adapt to the impacts of shifts in temperature and precipitation highlights the South Asian region where millions of already-impoverished people will be further impacted due to loss in agricultural productivity.

See full report »