AJ McMichael
National Centre for
Epidemiology and Population Health
The Australian National University
Canberra
Global War...
Should the Health Sector Engage?
1. Health risks are real … and are increasing.
2. Extreme weather events likely to increa...
Climate Change: Health Impacts
and Policy Responses
Global Environmental
Changes, affecting:
• Climate
• Water
• Food yiel...
Overview of Recent CC Science
Together, the reported GCM model runs for the 6 IPCC
emissions scenarios forecast, for 2100,...
Climate Change: Faster
than expected in 1990s
IPCC 4 (2007) was limited to
science published by early
2006
Subsequent rese...
Water: 75-250m Africans may face water-shortage by 2020.
Crops:
Rain-fed agriculture could decline by 50% in
some African ...
Excerpt from UNDP
Press Release, Nov 27
Climate Change & Health
Climate
Change
Impacts
Physical
systems
(ice, rivers, etc.)
Biological
& seasonal
cycles
Economy:
...
Cartogram: Emissions of greenhouse gases
Density-equalling cartogram. Countries scaled according to cumulative emissions
i...
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Food and chemical safety Global Warming

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Food and chemical safety Global Warming

  1. 1. AJ McMichael National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health The Australian National University Canberra Global Warming and Climate Change: Why the Health Sector Should be Engaged SEARO Office, New Delhi, March 2008
  2. 2. Should the Health Sector Engage? 1. Health risks are real … and are increasing. 2. Extreme weather events likely to increase: Could overwhelm health sector’s capacity. 3. CC jeopardises other ongoing health gains – esp. in low-income/vulnerable populations (e.g. Millennium Devt Goals; HIV/AIDS pandemic; etc.) 4. Health sector has, generally, been slow to recognise and respond to risk. Consequently:  Inadequate capacity-building (research, prevention, policy)  Deficient contact/engagement with other sectors 5. Society has been slow to understand that threat to health is the most serious, fundamental, risk.  Population health is ultimate marker of ‘sustainability’
  3. 3. Climate Change: Health Impacts and Policy Responses Global Environmental Changes, affecting: • Climate • Water • Food yields • Other materials • Physical envtl. safety • Microbial patterns • Cultural assets Natural processes and forcings Impacts on human society: • livelihoods • economic productivity • social stability • health Human society: • culture, institutions • economic activity • demography Feedback Adaptation: Reduce impacts Human pressure on environment Mitigation: Reduce pressure on environment
  4. 4. Overview of Recent CC Science Together, the reported GCM model runs for the 6 IPCC emissions scenarios forecast, for 2100, increases in temperature (central estimate per scenario) of 1.4-5.8 o C. Most of the uncertainty reflects unknowable human futures (the scenarios); the rest is due to model uncertainties. A further ~0.7 o C is ‘committed’ (on top of the 0.6o C already realised) IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007) already looks conservative. Recent studies indicate accelerating change. Political discourse in high-income countries is now starting to acknowledge need for 80+% reduction in emissions relative 2000.
  5. 5. Climate Change: Faster than expected in 1990s IPCC 4 (2007) was limited to science published by early 2006 Subsequent research shows increasing rates of:  Global GHG emissions 3.3% p.a. in 2000s, vs 1.3% p.a. in 1990s  Temperature rise especially in polar regions  Ice melt (Arctic: 40% loss since 1980, accelerating 2006-07)  Sea-level rise CO2 Concentration Av Surface Temp Sea Level Rise (cm) Dashed lines = 1990s projections Rahmstorf, Church, et al., Science 2007 Solid lines = observed 1975 1985 1995 2005
  6. 6. Water: 75-250m Africans may face water-shortage by 2020. Crops: Rain-fed agriculture could decline by 50% in some African countries by 2020. Crop yields could: increase by 20% in some parts of Southeast Asia … but decrease by up to 30% in Central/South Asia. Glaciers and snow cover: Expected to decline, reducing supply of melt water to major regions, cities. Species: 20-30% of all plant and animal species face increased risk of extinction if 1.5-2.5 o C rise.* Scientific literature review of >29,000 studies of physical and biological changes in natural world: 89% consistent with accompanying warming. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, WkGp2 Report (2007): Some Key Findings
  7. 7. Excerpt from UNDP Press Release, Nov 27
  8. 8. Climate Change & Health Climate Change Impacts Physical systems (ice, rivers, etc.) Biological & seasonal cycles Economy: infrastructure, output, growth e.g. prime focus of Stern Report (UK, 2006) Human Health: • Injuries/deaths • Thermal stress • Infectious diseases • Malnutrition • Mental stresses • Conflict, drugs, etc. Indirect impacts Wealth (and distribution); local environment; etc. Direct health impacts (heat, extreme events, etc.) Food yields
  9. 9. Cartogram: Emissions of greenhouse gases Density-equalling cartogram. Countries scaled according to cumulative emissions in billion tonnes carbon equivalent in 2002. Patz, Gibbs, et al, 2007

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