The sixth Lancet Countdown Report presents its findings in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis of 44 indicators reveals, above all, the deepening inequities of health impacts from climate change. Whereas general human exposure to health hazards associated with climate change has risen and adaptation measures have so far proven insufficient, the most vulnerable population is the worst impacted, with climate change aggravating existing inequalities. The simultaneous and interconnected risks posed by extreme weather events, infectious disease transmission, and food, water, and financial insecurity disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations. Through various, interlinked health risks, climate change endangers years of progress in public health and sustainable development.

Nevertheless, promising trends were recorded with regards to increases in renewable energy generation, decreased investment in new coal capacity, increased use of electric vehicles and heightened engagement in health and climate change throughout society due to the global pandemic. Directing the trillions of dollars committed to COVID-19 recovery towards the WHO's prescriptions for a healthy, green recovery, could simultaneously help the world achieve their goals in line with the Paris Agreement, protect natural systems to support wellbeing, and diminish inequalities through reduced health impacts and maximised co-benefits of a universal low-carbon transition. The current moment therefore presents a historical opportunity to ensure health of present and future generations.

Reference information

Lancet Countdown in Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Oct 25, 2021   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12, 2023

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