The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change argues that “a health-centered, aligned response to the compounding crises can still deliver a future where people can not only survive, but thrive”.
WMO and WHO launched a global knowledge platform on climate and health, which will house “actionable information to protect people from the health risks of climate change and other environmental hazards”.
The Lancet Countdown published a report warning that the world’s “persistent fossil fuel addiction is amplifying the health impacts of climate change, … compounding the concurrent energy, cost-of-living, food, and COVID-19 crises.” According to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) latest analysis of climate observations, fossil fuel combustion and cement production were the two main causes of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reaching 149% of the pre-industrial level in 2021.
Issued on 23 October, the 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change themed, ‘Health at the Mercy of Fossil Fuels,’ tracks the relationship between health and climate change across 43 indicators in five domains:
- Health hazards, exposures, and impacts;
- Adaptation, planning, and resilience for health;
- Mitigation actions and health co-benefits;
- Economics and finance; and
- Public and political engagement.
The report finds that as governments continue to subsidize fossil fuels for amounts comparable to their total health budgets, “a profound lack of funding undermines a just transition towards affordable, healthy, zero-carbon energy.” This, it argues, jeopardizes people’s health and a livable future.
The report suggests that “a health-centered, aligned response to the compounding crises can still deliver a future where people can not only survive, but thrive.”
To support this approach, on 31 October, WMO and the World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the Wellcome Trust, launched a global knowledge platform on climate and health, which will house “actionable information to protect people from the health risks of climate change and other environmental hazards.”
“There is no doubt that climate change is killing people,” said Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, coordinator of WHO’s climate change and health programme and member of the Lancet Countdown Board, highlighting its impacts on clean air, safe water, food, and shelter that affect the world’s vulnerable the most. “Unmitigated climate change has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health, and reducing its impacts requires evidence-based policy backed by the best available science and tools,” he stressed.
On 26 October, WMO published its Greenhouse Gas Bulletin 2022, warning that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) – the three main greenhouse gases (GHGs) – reached record levels in 2021, with the biggest year-on-year increase in methane in recorded history.
The Lancet Countdown’s and WMO’s findings are expected to inform negotiations at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) in Egypt.
The Lancet Commission is a collaboration of leading experts from academic institutions and UN agencies across the globe that works to ensure that health is at the center of how governments understand and respond to climate change. [Publication: The 2022 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Health at the Mercy of Fossil Fuels] [Publication Landing Page] [Key Findings] [Publication: WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2021] [Bulletin Landing Page] [WMO Press Release] [UN News Story]