“The Paris Agreement is potentially the strongest health agreement of this century,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. Photo: Flickr.com / DFID UK Department for International development CC BY-SA
Fighting climate change and fossil fuels improves global health
Tackling climate change would save at least a million lives a year, says the World Health Organization. Reducing the burning of fossil fuels is not only a measure to mitigate climate change, but also cuts emissions of air pollutants.
During COP 24 the WHO published a report on health and climate change, with recommendations for governments on how to maximize the health benefits of tackling climate change and avoid the worst health impacts of this global challenge.
They note that exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated 5.11 trillion USD in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4 per cent of their GDP. Actions to meet the Paris goals would cost around 1 per cent of global GDP.
“The Paris Agreement is potentially the strongest health agreement of this century,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “The evidence is clear that climate change is already having a serious impact on human lives and health. It threatens the basic elements we all need for good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter - and will undermine decades of progress in global health. We can’t afford to delay action any further.”
WHO Press release, 5 December 2018