Climate Change Risks the Lifelong Health of All Kids Alive Today

As Vox wrote yesterday, climate change is already impacting the health of millions around the world, from expanding the range of disease-carrying mosquitoes to worsening chronic kidney disease to increasing the frequency of deadly heatwaves. But the worst effects will fall to the youngest, and most dire for them lie ahead, as is the conclusion the Lancet’s 2019 Countdown report.

The highpoints of the report:

  • A child born today will experience a world that is more than 4˚C warmer by the time they turn 71 years old, which will threaten their health at every stage of their life.
  • According to Nick Watts, executive director of the Lancet’s Countdown,“We have no idea what that looks like from a public health perspective, but we know it is catastrophic. We know that it has the potential to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health and overwhelm the health systems we rely on.

Worth Noting: Watts explained that “In 2019, for this report, this is the first time that we feel as though we can say actually these health impacts have arrived in full.” Without swift, global cooperation on climate action, we are dooming every child alive today to far worse health outcomes than that of their parents.

Why This Matters: By not taking drastic action on climate change we’re gambling away our children’s future. This report shows it’s not hyperbole to say so. On the other hand, this is the point we should be making when we talk about climate change–it makes it very personal when people understand the risks that their children and grandchildren will face as a result of a warming planet. Climate change is undeniably a public health crisis.

Go Deeper: Get a better understanding of the Lancet report in these 9 charts from Wired.

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