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Global harming I HEALTH MATTERS

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the health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of the environment, but by its actions humanity now threatens to destabilise the earth’s key life-support systems, with significant implications for the political systems and economies that run our countries.

The Lancet Countdown is the latest project in this field. It intends to serve as a mechanism to regularly review progress on health and climate. It is an accountability mechanism, using data to catalyse political and scientific discussion about the importance of climate action, and the Lancet has committed to producing an annual report in order to try and sustain the momentum on climate change that was achieved with the negotiation of the Paris Agreement. Professor Hugh Montgomery provided the conference with an overview of the Lancet Countdown’s headline findings Lancet Countdown will publish a yearly ‘state of the union’ report on climate change and health, offering a regular review of the progress on mitigation actions in terms of health resilience. In order to do this, the Countdown has convened a large, cross-sector, international partnership of universities and organisations from across the world. This coalition has developed a set of 40 indicators, which are used to track progress on climate-health action, and the Lancet invited everyone from all backgrounds to contribute to establishing these indicators.

The key conclusion from the report, published in October 2017, is that climate change is damaging health worldwide (Watts et al, 2017). The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible—affecting the health of populations around the world, today. While these effects will disproportionately impact on the most vulnerable in society, every community will be affected.

The critical issue at hand is the delay in our response to climate change which, over the past two decades, has jeopardised human life and livelihoods. However, although progress has been historically slow, the past 5 years has seen an accelerated response, and in 2017 momentum is building across a number of sectors; the direction of travel iyaset

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The health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of the environment,

is set, with clear and unprecedented opportunities for public health. Professor Georgina Mace spoke on climate change impacts, exposure and adaptation Mace shared some headline findings from the report: Weather-related disasters. Annual weath er-related disasters increased by 46% from 2000 to 2013. Accelerated efforts towards poverty reduction and sustainable development have helped minimise harm to date; however, limits to adaptive capacity will quickly be reached Global warming. From 2000 to 2016, global a verage temperatures where people are living have risen approximately 0.9 degrees Celsius— more than twice the global mean land temperature increases Heatwaves. Since 2000, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heatwave events has increased by around 125 million Labour capacity. Global physical labour c apacity in populations exposed to temperature change decreased by around 5.3% from 2000 to 2016 What are we doing to adapt to the health effects of climate change? Not enough is being done to adapt to climate change or improve the resilience of populations and health systems. Out of the world’s total adaptation spend, just 4.63% ($16.46 billion USD) is on health and 13.3% ($47.29 billion USD) on health-related

“A growing body of evidence shows that the health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of the environment, but by its actions humanity now threatens to destabilise the earth’s key life-support systems, with significant implications for the political systems and economies that run our countries”

British Journal of Healthcare Assistants May 2018 Vol 12 No 5

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