Meeting the goal of the Paris Accord to reduce toxic gas emissions could save one million lives a year, said representatives of the World Health Organization at a climate summit in Poland.
“Clearly, climate change is already having a major impact on people’s lives and health and threatens the foundations of good health: clean air, safe water, nutritious food and a safe roof,” the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
For Ghebreyesus, “if climate change continues to advance, decades of global progress in health will end,” it is necessary to “act immediately to mitigate its effects.”
According to the WHO, nine out of 10 people in the world breathe in contaminated air, which causes seven million annual deaths from causes directly related to pollution.
In addition, the organization estimates that in the 15 countries that emit the largest amount of greenhouse gases, the health impacts of air pollution cost more than 4% of each GDP, and actions to achieve the objectives of the Paris would cost about 1% of world GDP.
“The real impact of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs,” said the Director of Public Health at WHO, who stressed that the fight against climate change is an opportunity to improve the health of the world’s population.
According to a report presented today by the WHO, moving to clean energy sources will not only improve air quality but will also translate into immediate health benefits across the globe, and the organization recommends adopting measures such as the promotion of means of transportation that require physical activity, to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
The COP 24 climate summit, which began Sunday in Katowice, Poland, brings together some 30,000 delegates from 197 countries in a marathon of complex negotiations to find ways to implement the Paris agreement concluded in 2015. The meeting ends on 14 December.