Climate Change is a Threat to Human Health

by Rolly Montpellier

"In 2008, poor air quality alone, including from oil and gas production, cost Canada about $8-billion, according to a report by the Canadian Medical Association. By 2031, those costs are expected to rise to $250-billion....almost 90,000 people will have died from the acute effects of air pollution," the CMA said. (Source: The Globe and Mail).

The 2014 US National Climate Assessment outlined the human health implications of a warming planet. Our changing climate will produce severe health impacts which "will manifest in varying ways in different parts of the world," states the report.

"Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impact from extreme weather events, wildfires, decreased air quality, threats to mental health and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks."

Climate Change Threatens Your Health

As reported in Citizens' Climate Lobby Laser Talks ~ Rolly Montpellier, Editor for BoomerWarrior

The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warned in the Lancet in June 2015.

The Health and Climate Change report said direct health impacts of climate change come from more frequent and intense extreme weather events, while indirect impacts come from changes in infectious disease patterns, air pollution, food insecurity and malnutrition, displacement and conflicts.

The good news is the panel also said burning fewer fossil fuels reduces respiratory diseases, for example, and getting people walking and cycling more cuts pollution, road accidents and rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Sounding the Alarm

Previously, Canadian Health associations sounded the alarm about the health impacts of climate change. In June 2014, Dr. Eilish Cleary, Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick, expressed the necessity of considering human health when making decisions about emissions.

She said, “There hasn’t been adequate recognition by all levels of policy-makers and decision-makers that it is really a problem that we have to do something about.”

Nova Scotia’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang concurred, adding that the discourse has been too focused on adaptation to the exclusion of mitigation planning.

Public Health and Climate Change

Public health officials know: if you are concerned about public health you should also be concerned about climate change.

If we want to prevent the health consequences of climate change, we need to work to decrease our fossil fuel emissions.

That’s why Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax: carbon fee and dividend as proposed by MP Bruce Hyer repeatedly in the House of Commons since November 2013.

The return of 100% of the proceeds from the tax is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine of a carbon tax go down smoothly. It’s time to take action.

Rolly Montpellier

Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and a Climate Activist. Rolly has been published widely – Toronto Star, The Hill Times, Kingston Whig, the PEN, UnpublishedOttawa, Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, County Weekly News.

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