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Top Sustainability News #23

Alexanne Heurtier

Climate Change Linked to 5 Million Deaths a Year, New Study Shows

A paper published in The Lancet Planetary Health has unveiled that 10% of the deaths around the world was due to extreme weather since 2000, which represents 5 million deaths each year. Researchers at Monash in Australia and China’s Shandong University have analyzed the link between mortality and climate change with a special focus on temperature. The study exposes the consequences of hot and cold temperatures depending on the area. For instance, Europe has experienced the most hot-linked deaths during the past 20 years, whereas Africa has the most cold-linked deaths.
Figures have been rising and are likely to continue to rise in the next few years as global warming intensifies across the world. Every region is now likely to experience extreme weather waves at any moment of the year.

Experts have pinpointed that global warming has a huge impact on climate and should not be mistaken with the weather. According to NASA, “the difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.” Researchers have shown that there were more deaths due to cold weather and that the trend was globally on the rise. However, it does not mean that the planet is not warming; on the contrary, it shows that the climate is being deregulated due to global greenhouse gases emissions. The danger mainly stands on extreme weather, which occurred in areas not experiencing such temperatures, such as in Africa or North America.

Strong action needs to be quickly taken as consequences on human well-being could keep worsening. Beyond death, climate change also affects human’s living conditions and livelihoods. Extreme natural disasters already cause food shortages and damaged infrastructures. 

Five things G20 must do to tackle climate change 

After the G7 Summit held in London at the beginning of the month, the G20 Finance Summit will be hosted in Venise this weekend. The meeting will focus on three pillars: People, Prosperity, and Planet. As the world is still struggling against the Covid-19 crisis, international leaders want to improve the resilience of society and fight against inequalities. 

Even if the pandemic has allowed a historic reduction of global emissions, climate change remains a major issue closely linked to the economy as it not only has many economic consequences but also needs financing. Thus, financial ministers will address this as well as carbon prices and taxes. Financing the energy transition is a major subject for G20 countries, especially in China, which is still mainly using coal-power plants. A global consensus and massive investment in the least developed countries must be implemented for effective actions in order to be aligned with the Paris Agreement targets.

Climate crisis ‘may put 8bn at risk of malaria and dengue’

A study led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has revealed that climate change could have dramatic consequences on human well-being and health. The research showed that the global population could rise by 4.5 billion by 2080, but that 8 billion people could be affected by deadly diseases such as malaria or dengue. The main reason is the temperature rise. It could affect the length of the transmission period. The two diseases are mostly transmitted by mosquitoes, which thrive in high temperatures.  

For information, dengue does not have a specific treatment as it already kills 20,000 people a year for thousands of millions of infections across the world. Vaccines are under trial for the moment. Malaria is at the origin of 40,000 deaths every year, especially among African children. Therapy exists for the most dangerous forms, but it is not widely sufficient to eradicate it. However, the number of countries affected could significantly change in the future decades.

Article written by Alexanne Heurtier