Climate action must respond to extreme weather driving health crisis, says WHO
(The Guardian, 19 Sep 2023) Melting ice caps and rising sea levels are less urgent than floods, wildfires, drought and other disasters, New York summit hears.
Floods, wildfires, drought and the onslaught of extreme weather are driving a global health crisis that must be put at the centre of climate action, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
“The climate crisis is a health crisis; it drives extreme weather and is taking lives around the world,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, said. “Melting ice caps and rising sea levels are, of course, crucial issues, but for most people they are distant threats in both time and place. The threats of our changing climate are right here and right now.”
Tedros was speaking at a New York climate week event on links between global health and the climate crisis. The Cop28 climate summit in Dubai in December will hold a global health day for the first time, where health issues in the context of the climate crisis will be discussed.
The president of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, said the addition of the global health day was “necessary and long overdue”. He noted that a series of tropical cyclones in quick succession had led to the worst cholera outbreak in Malawi’s history and left a trail of destruction affecting more than 2 million people.