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Environmental Change in the News

Effects of climate change gaining more attention

Published: Thursday, June 7, 2012

Climate change could pose a number of challenges to human health, including shifting food distribution, exacerbating the spread of disease and even having direct impacts in the form of extreme weather, according to a new report by European health experts.

"Certain subgroups are at more risk -- mainly the young, the old and the poor," said Peter Byass, director of the Umea Center for Global Health Research in Sweden. "The middle age and wealthy will be better off. It's a crude way of looking at it, but it's not so far off the mark."

Poor populations in warm climates will be increasingly at risk from diseases like malaria and dengue fever, the report found.

Other health experts have noted the effects of global warming on respiratory disease, due to a longer pollen season and increasing ranges of disease-causing molds and mosquitoes.

The human health dimensions of climate change have gained visibility in recent years, despite the fact that the scale of the phenomenon makes it difficult to attribute it to particular weather events or seasonal conditions.

"I don't think there's a big gang of global health experts saying [climate change] is unimportant," Byass said. "But I don't think people have been making the connections that need to be made between public health and climate change" (Jason Koebler, U.S. News & World Report, June 5). -- NM

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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