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WHO/Yoshi Shimizu
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Climate change

    Climate change is impacting human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter - and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.
    Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone. The direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030.
    Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond. WHO supports countries in building climate-resilient health systems and tracking national progress in protecting health from climate change.
    Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution. The Paris climate Agreement is therefore potentially the strongest health agreement of this century. WHO supports countries in assessing the health gains that would result from the implementation of the existing Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, and the potential for larger gains from more ambitious climate action.

    WHO response
    Many policies and individual choices have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce major health co-benefits. The phase out of polluting energy systems, for example, or the promotion of public transportation and active movement, could both reduce carbon emissions and cut the burden of household and ambient air pollution, which cause 7 million premature deaths per year.
    WHO’s work plan on climate change and health includes:
    • Advocacy & Partnerships: to coordinate with partner agencies within the UN system, and ensure that health is properly represented in the climate change agenda, as well as to provide and disseminate information on the threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions;
    • Monitoring science and evidence: to coordinate reviews of the scientific evidence on the links between climate change and health; asses country's preparedness and needs when facing climate change; and to develop a global research agenda;
    • Supporting countries to protect human health from climate change: strengthening national capacities and improving the resilience and adaptive capacity of health systems to deal with the adverse health effects of climate change
    • Building capacity on climate change and human health: to assist countries to build capacity to reduce health vulnerability to climate change, and promote health while reducing carbon emissions.


    More information

    Decision-makers can advance climate, health and development objectives by:

    • Identifying and promoting actions that both cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution, and by including specific commitments to cut emissions of Short Climate Pollutants in their National Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement;
    • Ensuring that the commitments to assess and safeguard health in the Paris Agreement and in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, are also reflected in national and international policy and operational mechanisms;
    • Removing barriers to investment in health adaptation to climate change, with a focus on climate resilient health systems, and climate smart healthcare facilities;
    • Engagement with the health community, civil society and health professionals, to help them to mobilize collectively to promote climate action and health co-benefits;
    • Promoting the role of cities and sub-national governments in climate action benefiting health, within the UNFCCC framework;
    • Monitoring and reporting on the health progress resulting from climate actions to the global climate and health governance processes, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
    • Including of the health implications of mitigation and adaptation measures in economic and fiscal policy.



    250 000

    additional deaths

    66顺彩票appfrom climate-sensitive diseases (heat stress, malnutrition, dengue and malaria) from 2030 onward

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    2 to 1

    benefit-cost ratio

    Health gains value from climate action is double the cost of mitigation policies at global level

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    Key Publications

    WHO Review: Health in the NDCs

    Countries can strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement by developing health-inclusive and health-promoting climate...

    WHO Health and Climate Change Survey Report: Tracking Global Progress

    66顺彩票appThis report provides a vital snapshot of the overall progress that governments have made in the field of health and climate change to date, as well as...

    Climate change and health in small island developing states

    66顺彩票appThe Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Initiative on Climate Change and Health was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the 23rd Conference...

    COP24 Special report: Health & Climate Change

    This report is a contribution from the public health community to support the negotiationsof the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change...

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