Greenhouse gas emissions are a great concern due to climate change. The innumerable impacts of climate change have the potential to devastate the planet in this century if nothing is done to curtail human impact. However, what about the impacts greenhouse gases and climate change can have on human health?
Asthma, heart issues and a variety of other health ailments are caused by greenhouse gases, including the rarely discussed soot and air particulates released via coal-fired plants and other such activities. But while greenhouse gas emissions themselves can impact human health, the climate change they drive can also have devastating consequences.
This is why the United Nations agencies of the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization came together to show the impact of climate change on health. The two released the Atlas of Health and Climate manual. The manual is expected to simplify previous findings by both organizations for world leaders in order to prepare and make changes for potential diseases.
The agencies examined the occurrences of numerous diseases, including malaria and meningitis, and their occurrence during climate related events, such as major droughts. The agencies noted the prevalence of major heat waves increasing, occurring four to ten times more often by the year 2050. They also analyzed increased rainfall and temperature change impacts on disease.
Overall, many of the areas which will see the greatest increase in disease potential are highly populated areas in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Meningitis cases have risen in sub-Saharan Africa due to dry seasons. Dengue fever has been tied to increased rainfall, which increases mosquito activity and subsequently has increased cases since 1998.
Director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, stated: “Many diseases, including malaria, dengue, meningitis-just a few examples-these are what we call climate-sensitive diseases, because such climate dimensions for rainfall, humidity and temperature would influence the epidemics, the outbreaks, either directly influence the parasites or the mosquitoes that carry them.”