Human Health and Climate Change

-By Olivia Keck, ‘18C, Environmental Sciences 

Health became part of COP discussions with approval of the Paris agreement in December 2015. The Earth is experiencing climate change and impacting human health at an unprecedented rate. With over half of the world’s population living near the coast and one of the primary concerns of climate change being sea level rise, this is one of the most obvious effects on health and social adaptation. However, the primary concern has consistently been heat waves because these events cause the most fatalities. 

It is more difficult to predict the indirect effects on human health like food security and the spread of disease, but researchers are working on better modeling to inform future decisions. Human health is a climate change issue that exacerbates existing problems. Injury, disease and death will spread with the increasing change in global temperature. The worldwide human health related dangers stemming from climate change are respiratory and heat-related illnesses, insect-borne infections, water-borne diseases, and threats to safe food and water.