Multiple impacts of global warming on human health

Heat-related mortality increased by 68 % between 2017 and 2021 compared to the period 2000-2004, according to a report from the “Lancet” published on Wednesday.


Hundreds of thousands of people, in all countries of the world, die each year from the direct and indirect consequences of global warming. Waves of heat, strong precipitation, forest fires, storms and droughts: the increase in the probability and severity of extreme meteorological phenomena is well documented but not necessarily linked to human health.

Through 43 indicators developed by a hundred experts, the British journal The Lancet, in partnership with 51 institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), tries to put health at the heart of the debate . Son “count on health and the Climate change “is published Wednesday October 26 , a few days before the World Climate Conference, COP27, November 5. “We are a turning point,” insists Marina Romanello, executive director of the project at the University College in London:

“We note the serious repercussions of climate change on health around the world, while persistent global dependence on fossil fuels aggravates these harmful effects for health in a context of multiple global crises.”

Due to the rapid increase in temperatures – the average temperature on the surface of the globe is 1.1 ° C higher than the pre -industrial period, and the last seven years have been the hottest ever recorded – the populations Vulnerable such as people over the age of 65 and children under a year are more and longer subjected to high temperatures. In Europe, in particular, the exposure of the population to heat waves increased by 57 % on average in 2010-19 compared to the previous decade, and by more than 250 % in certain regions such as southern Spain or The Czech Republic.

Deaths could double in thirty-four years

Health repercussions are direct, in particular the worsening of cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, the deterioration of sleep and mental health, as well as the increase in deaths as a result of injuries. Heat-related mortality increased by 68 % between 2017 and 2021 compared to the period 2000-2004. In Europe, if the trends are maintained, deaths during heat waves could double in thirty-four years, according to the first report published in the region.

The impact of these high temperatures is also read in economic data. In 2021, 470 billion working hours were lost, an increase of 37 % compared to the annual average from 1990 to 1999. In summary, almost 140 hours per person in one year. This mainly concerns the agricultural sector (40 %) and countries with a low human development index. Potential income losses correspond to 5.6 % of the gross domestic product (GDP) in these countries where workers are most vulnerable to the effects of financial fluctuations.

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/Media reports.