The impacts of climate change are “undermining the social and environmental determinants that underpin good health,” according to a new report from British medical journal The Lancet. If the global health community fails to respond quickly and adequately, climate change “will result in an irreversible and unacceptable cost to human health.”
The Lancet Countdown is an annual review that tracks progress on health and climate change. The publication intends to continue the annual review through 2030.
The U.S. government is scheduled to release its fourth National Climate Assessment (aka, NCA4) Friday afternoon. According to a report from National Public Radio (NPR), which obtained a copy of the report, federal researchers stated that it is “extremely likely” that human activity is the “dominant cause” of global warming.
The NCA4 warns that without major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide, the increase in the annual average global temperature could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Since 1900, the global average temperature has risen by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
NPR notes that President Trump and many of his cabinet officers “have openly questioned the role humans play in changing the climate.” The Lancet also refers to the president’s announced withdrawal from the Paris climate accords:
Following the US Goverment’s announced intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the global community has demonstrated overwhelming support for enhanced action on climate change, affirming clear political will and ambition to reach the treaty’s targets. … Although progress has been historically slow, there is evidence of a recent turning point, with transitions in sectors that are crucial to public health reorienting towards a low-carbon world. These efforts must be greatly accelerated and sustained in the coming decades to meet the commitments, but recent policy changes and the indicators presented here suggest that the direction of travel is set.
The full Lancet Countdown is available at the journal’s website after free registration. The U.S. report is scheduled for release later today.