Health and climate change

I attempted Dr Ebi presentation; “Healthy People 2100: Health Risks of Climate Change” on September 11th. As it was mention by supernova in a previous comment, I think the Dr. Ebi wanted to warn us about the possible impacts of not acting nor getting prepared to face climate change. We, as a society, are often acting like climate change impacts are something far away, as we were not going to deal with it during our lifetime. However, according to Tong (2008) 150 000 deaths, yearly, could already be possibly linked to climate changes. Isn’t it a proof that something has to be done ?

I do think it is far time that we stop debating about numbers (i.e. what will be the exact temperature rise, in how many years …) and that we start acting. The situation makes me think of those houses that are way to close to a river. Rivers overflow ; if it is not this year, it may be next year or in ten years, but it will overflow ! So why would you complain when there is water in your basement ? It had to happen ! It is the same thing about climate change ; we know it is going to happen, even though we are not quite sure of the exact scale of consequences. But it does not mean that we should wait to see what happens, and then try to deal with it. It is too late to think about how to protect old people health when a heatwave has already started, it is too late to think about an evacuation plan when the hurricane is there above our heads.

While concluding the seminar, Dr.Ebi mentioned that adaptation should be considered as important as mitigation. Policy makers have to think about all possible ways to reduce GHG emissions, but they also have to get prepare to face the future.

One Response to “Health and climate change”

  1. patagonia says:

    I strongly agree with Ebi’s and your point about climate change and health, that adaptation/preparation should stressed alongside mitigation efforts. I think this is a classic example of needing to bring together people with a variety of expertise and expereince to tackle this huge issue is a combined and reinforced manner. An ecologist cannot plan a city’s hurricane evacuation routes efficiently, climatologists cannot distribute vaccines for malaria, yellow fever and other desieses that could increase their ranges significantly with as increased greenhouse effect, and health professional cannot conduct the scientific studies needed to inform environmental policy and law. Climate change presents a new disipline that is multidisiplinary and must be approched in a new way, a way that simultaneously mitigates climate change and prepares all life on earth for the climatic changes to come.