Climate change and human health

Protecting health from climate change

29 June 2017 -- Climate change undermines access to safe water, adequate food, and clean air, exacerbating the approximately 12.6 million deaths each year that are caused by avoidable environmental risk factors. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, and billions of dollars in direct damage costs to health. WHO works with countries across the world to protect the most vulnerable populations from the health effects of extreme weather events, and to increase their resilience to long-term climate change.

Health topics at COP22, Marrakech

WHO will lead a series of events at COP22, bringing together health, climate and environment stakeholders to showcase how the health community is already addressing this threat, and the health opportunities of more ambitious action.

WHO Conference on Health and Climate 2016

WHO and the Government of France are pleased to announce the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate: Building Healthier Societies through implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The conference will take place on 7–8 July 2016 in Paris, France

WHO Global Programme on Climate Change & Health

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WHO/C Black

Climate change is among the greatest health risks of the 21st Century. Rising temperatures and more extreme weather events cost lives directly, increase transmission and spread of infectious diseases, and undermine the environmental determinants of health, including clean air and water, and sufficient food.

Addressing climate change is necessary – and is also a huge opportunity for public health. Guided by a World Health Assembly Resolution and workplan endorsed by all of its Member States, WHO provides a comprehensive programme to protect health from climate risks, and to ensure that actions to mitigate climate change also protect and improve people’s health.

Health and Climate Change: Road to COP21

8 December 2015 - At a high-level WHO side event, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan called on negotiators to rapidly close an agreement on climate change, saying that the “world is recklessly late in agreeing.” Climate change already claims tens of thousands of lives a year from diseases, heat and extreme weather. And air pollution, largely from the same sources as climate change, claims 7 million lives annually.

“If the right commitments are made, efforts to combat climate change will produce an environment with cleaner air, more abundant and safer freshwater and food, and more effective and fair systems for social protection,” Chan said.

WHO and WMO issue guidance on heat health warning systems

1 July 2015 – WHO and WMO have issued new joint guidance on heat–health warning systems to address the health risks posed by heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change.

The length, frequency and intensity of heatwaves will likely increase over most land areas during this century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In recent weeks alone, both India and Pakistan have been hit by deadly heatwaves, killing hundreds of people. The European heatwaves in the northern hemisphere summer of 2003 was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as were the Russian heatwaves, forest fires and associated air pollution in 2010.

New publication

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Infographics on health and climate change

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