Brown, Dacones, Damle, Dresser, Ebi, Eckelman, Freedman, Kuwahara Mark, Salas and Tummala report no relevant financial disclosures. Strak reports receiving support from the Health Effects Institute. Healio Primary Care could not confirm Lawrence and colleagues’ relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
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Human influence has had an unequivocal impact on Earth’s climate, causing significant changes that threaten people’s security and physical and mental health, according to a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The report stated that life-threatening climate extremes like heatwaves, tropical storms and droughts will become more common, and some changes on Earth’s climate are now irreversible.
Health care’s climate footprint. https://noharm-uscanada.org/content/global/health-care-climate-footprint-report. Accessed Oct. 14, 2021.
“We are getting close to the point of no return,” Nitin Damle, MD, MS, MACP, past president of the ACP, told Healio Primary Care in reaction to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
Primary care physicians have a responsibility to educate patients about the health risks associated with climate change, he said.
Glimpse at current state of climate change
The IPCC estimates that emissions from greenhouse gases due to human activity have caused a global warming of about 1.1°C since 1850. Temperatures are expected to rise 1.5°C or more in the coming decades. A warming of 1.5°C will cause more heat waves, lengthier hot seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of warming, “heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health,” according to the IPCC. The authors of the report called the warning a “code red for humanity.”
Several media outlets have reported that extreme weather events predicted for future years have already begun. In 2021 alone, there were droughts, wildfires, record-breaking heat waves, rainfall and tropical storms.
Physical health effects
Climate change-fueled events and disasters have an excessive impact on populations, causing mass migrations and food insecurity. Rising temperatures and more frequent extreme heat events are associated with increased hospitalizations, lower safety and productivity among outdoor workers, limited outdoor exercise and exacerbated asthma, respiratory issues and airborne allergies, the IPCC report stated.
Other climate-sensitive health issues include wildfire smoke-associated …….