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Climate Change and Population Health: Possible Future Scenarios

Author: Arthur Saniotis, Alana Hansen and Peng Bi
Organisation: The University of Adelaide, Australia.
Publish Date: 2011
Country: Global
Sector: Health
Method: Scenarios
Theme: Climate Change
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Climate change, Health, Scenarios

There is little doubt the earth’s climate is changing and will continue to change over time. Predictions suggest higher temperatures, and more frequent heat waves, heavy rains, floods, droughts and severe storms. Among the consequences may be detrimental health effects, to the extent that climate change has been termed the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century” (Costello et al., 2009). Primary health effects may include changing patterns in temperature- and weather-related morbidity and mortality, whereas secondary effects may result from water and food insecurity, mental stresses and changes in transmission patterns of certain infectious diseases.

Disparities will be apparent in the vulnerability of individuals and populations around the globe, and despite contributing little to the cause of climate change, populations in poorer countries will be particularly vulnerable (World Health Organization, 2008). Currently various human societies are implementing various adaptation strategies. Such strategies are informed by the socio-political and religious institutions of societies. While the developed world emphasises the virtues of technology and sound socio-political systems in promoting future adaptation strategies to climate change, many countries in the developing world utilise grass-roots based social action. The use of a multi-faceted approach offers novel ways for dealing with future climate change scenarios and its potential impacts on human population health.
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