Lancet Countdown 2023 Report reveals the human cost of climate inaction
Dr. Nick Obradovich at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research has contributed new findings presented in the eighth annual global report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change. The report delivers a concerning health stocktake, with new global projections revealing the grave and mounting threat to health of further delayed action on climate change.
“Our health stocktake reveals that the growing hazards of climate change are costing lives and livelihoods worldwide today. Projections of a 2°C hotter world reveal a dangerous future, and are a grim reminder that the pace and scale of mitigation efforts seen so far have been woefully inadequate to safeguard people's health and safety”, says Dr Marina Romanello, Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown at University College London.
“With 1,337 tonnes of carbon dioxide still emitted every second, we aren’t reducing emissions anywhere near fast enough to keep climate hazards within the levels that our health systems can cope with. There is an enormous human cost to inaction, and we can’t afford this level of disengagement – we are paying in lives. Every moment we delay makes the path to a liveable future more difficult and adaptation increasingly costly and challenging.”
Dr. Nick Obradovich, a contributing author to the Lancet Countdown 2023 Report and Chief Scientist for Environmental Mental Health at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research said:
"We know from an increasingly large body of research that environmental stressors like extreme heat, flooding, and large storms impede our physical and mental health. They simply make it harder for us to be well, a fact we observe via our indicator on social media sentiments that decline in response to adverse climatic conditions. The broad efforts by our Lancet Countdown team to trace and monitor the myriad manners in which climatic stressors are altering human well-being represent an important undertaking. I'm pleased to be a part of this project and look forward to ever more high-quality research feeding into the process and informing the indicators and metrics we monitor going forward."
Key findings from The Lancet Report
The failure to seriously mitigate climate change is self-evident in the report, with health-related losses and damages soaring globally. However, the report is launching ahead of the 28th UN Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), which will – for the first time – feature health as a key theme, with an official Health Day and a climate-health ministerial. The Lancet Countdown report contributes to the evidence needed to inform the negotiations, and deliver truly health-protecting climate change action.
Responding to the report publication, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres (who was not involved in writing the report) says, “We are already seeing a human catastrophe unfolding with the health and livelihoods of billions across the world endangered by record-breaking heat, crop-failing droughts, rising levels of hunger, growing infectious disease outbreaks, and deadly storms and floods.
“The continuing expansion of fossil fuels is a death sentence to millions. There is no excuse for a persistent delay in climate action. Temperature rise must be limited to 1.5°C to avert the worst of climate change, save millions of lives, and help protect the health of everyone on earth.”
Find out more, and read the full report at lancetcountdown.org
This report was funded by The Wellcome Trust.