Lives Depend on Climate Deal as Islands Bear Brunt of Impact

Monday, December 7, 2015

Small islands that bear the brunt of rising sea levels also face the greatest risk of diseases linked to a warmer planet, health leaders said on Saturday, as 13 million medical professionals added to the calls for a global climate pact.

Hundreds of thousands more people will die every year from heat stroke and tropical illnesses unless negotiators in Paris can agree a strong global deal to cap global warming, the Global Climate and Health Alliance said.

The alliance, formed at U.N. climate talks in Durban in 2011, met in central Paris on Saturday as U.N. negotiators on the outskirts of the city sought to hammer out a new climate change pact.

The World Health Organization has warned that the effects of extreme weather on the fight against malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea alone will account for an extra 250,000 premature deaths a year by 2030.

“In the case of small island states like Tuvalu, the health impacts of climate change are palpable,” said the island’s health minister, Satini Tulaga Manuella said.

“When we are talking about climate change, this is important for the future health of our people, and people everywhere.”

Jone Usamate, health minister for Fiji, said the island was suffering from climate-related diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and unknown in Fiji until the first case was confirmed in May.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

Environment, Health Care
climate change