New Health Data Shows Unabated Climate Change Will Cause 3.4 Million Deaths Per Year by Century End
Climate Vulnerable Forum and Lancet Countdown Launches Health Data Explorer at COP27
12 November 2022, Sharm el Sheikh – Unabated climate change will cause 3.4 million deaths per year by the end of the Century, new data presented to COP27 today shows. Health-related deaths of the over-65s will increase by 1,540%, and in India alone there will be 1 million additional heat-related deaths by 2090, if no action to limit warming is taken, the data shows.
The data is part of the ‘Health Data Explorer’, published today and commissioned by the Lancet Countdown and the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 68 developing countries highly vulnerable to climate heating.
The Health Data Explorer outlines the catastrophic health consequences of climate inaction, and the major health gains that would arise from taking urgent measures to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
If the world managed to meet the 1.5°C target, 91% of the projected 3.4 million deaths would be avoided. If climate heating overshoots 1.5 °C but is limited to 2°C, the number of deaths avoided drops to 50% — underscoring how crucial it is to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Other findings in the Health Data Explorer include:
- Exposure to days of high wildfire danger is projected to increase by 8.5.% at 1.5°C, but could increase threefold if no action is taken to curb global warming.
- Exposure to life-threatening heatwaves will increase by 350% for vulnerable age groups at 1.5°C, but will jump to 2,510% at 2°C, and 6,310% if no climate action is taken, by the Century-end.
- 20% of hours of heavy physical labor will be lost by the end of the Century if no action is taken to stop climate change, underscoring the impact of climate heating on work productivity. Under a 1.5°C scenario, this loss falls to 7.6%.
- The number of countries with conditions suitable for Dengue Fever, a life-threatening, mosquito-borne tropical disease, is projected to increase by 22% by the Century-end with no climate action. Under 1.5°C, the increase is 4%.
The Health Data Explorer also underscores the need for urgent adaptation to protect the most vulnerable populations from the now unavoidable increase in health hazards.
About the Health Data Explorer
At 1.1°C of global heating, climate change is already having profound impacts on the socioeconomic and environmental conditions that human health and wellbeing depend on, making it the greatest threat to global health of this century. Monitoring the changing hazards of climate change is essential to identify populations at risk, and to develop adaptive and coping capacity mechanisms that can help minimise the associated health impacts.
Indicators presented in the Health Data Explorer estimate changes in climate-related health risks driven by changing climatic conditions under different climate change scenarios, assuming no changes in adaptation. These build on the indicators of the Lancet Countdown, to capture the influence of the changing climate on health risks.
They therefore help identify the risks that could be avoided through ambitious mitigation, as well as the need for accelerated adaptation efforts to prevent the worst health harms in a heating world. Indicators in the Health Data Explorer cover four key areas: Heat and Health, Wildfires, Infectious Diseases, and Food Insecurity and Undernutrition.
To view the Heath Data Explorer, see: https://climatevulnerabilitymonitor.org/health
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About the Lancet Countdown
The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change exists to monitor the links between public health and climate change, and the transition from health threat to opportunity. We are a global collaboration of over 300 leading experts from academic institutions and UN agencies across the globe, bringing together climate scientists, engineers, energy specialists, economists, political scientists, public health professionals and doctors.
Each year our findings are published annually in medical journal The Lancet ahead of the UN climate change negotiations. Our data makes clear how climate change is affecting our health, the consequences of delayed action and the health benefits of a robust response.
For more information, visit lancetcountdown.org and follow us at @LancetCountdown
About the CVF
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an intergovernmental non-treaty organization of 68 developing nations most threatened by climate change and represents some 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is currently chaired by Ghana for the period 2022-2024. The Forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating member states to act together to deal with the global crisis of the climate.
For more, visit:
CVF Member States
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, the Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Palau, Palestine*, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen.
*As a UN non-member observer state