Climate risks to health set to worsen inequity, harm children
(Reuters, 21 Dec 2020) From poor families in flood-prone homes to women required to cover up in extreme heat, climate change will hit the health of vulnerable groups the hardest, warns Kristie Ebi.
Rising global health risks driven by climate change will hit the poorest, most vulnerable people the hardest - and failure to prepare for those threats will mean more deaths and suffering, according to a leading environmental health scientist.
From impoverished families living in flood-prone homes to women whose cultures require them to stay covered in extreme heat, climate impacts on health have "a strong equity component", said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington's Center for Health and the Global Environment.
Besides hiking dangers from deadly heat and spreading diseases, climate change will fuel a rise in basic health problems - from diarrhoea to poor nutrition - that will affect the poor most and likely widen global inequalities, she said.
"Future health risks will be determined not just by the hazards created by a changing climate but also by the sensitivity of individuals and communities exposed to these hazards," she noted in an article published this month in the journal Health Affairs.