Climate change will keep on damaging kids health. In fact, an entire generation is under threat, unless there are immediate cuts in fossil fuel emissions. Not to mention the increase in fatal infectious diseases and the increase in victims of malnutrition.
Children around the world were already suffering the negative effects of air pollution and extreme weather events. However, the worst – perhaps – is yet to come.
This is the alarm sounded by the annual report on the impact of climate change on human health published by the British scientific journal Lancet.
Airborne diseases, the effects of malnutrition caused by poor crop management, and also physical and mental trauma caused by increased flash floods and fires. The Lancet Countdown has drawn a very worrying picture. 35 institutions, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, participated in this study.
August was the hottest month ever recorded. In fact, the temperature on Earth has already increased by 1.8 Fahrenheit due to industrialization and greenhouse gas production. The Paris Climate Treaty of 2015 requires nations to limit temperature increases to 3.6°F, or preferably 2.7°F. However, emissions continue to increase year after year. As a result, the temperature could rise by a further 7.2°F by the end of the century. This of course would pose a risk to human health.
The Consequences on Kids Health
This traumatic future scenario will affect children in particular. In fact, they will have to deal with the climate crisis when they grow up. A child born today has a global average life expectancy of 71 years, so it will reach 2090. This means that the kid will live in a world that is 7.2 degrees warmer. This is what emerges from The Lancet Countdown.
The experts who produced the report used the latest available data for climate recording. They then carried out analyses to predict global health trends as mercury rises over decades. In some parts of the world, the effects of climate change on health begin in the first weeks of a child’s life.
Over the last 30 years, the global yield potential of staple crops such as maize, winter wheat and rice have all declined. As a result, infants and young children are at high risk of malnutrition. Child malnutrition has an impact on every stage of a child’s life. In fact, it slows growth, weakens the immune system and raises long-term developmental problems. Because of this, more children will also be subject to epidemics of infectious diseases.