A report by a group of 114 scientists and health practitioners has found that the death rate of people over the age of 65 years has increased due to rising temperatures as a result of climate change.
The report, published by medical journal The Lancet, also revealed that rising global temperatures, if not addressed could raise the number of people that may face moderate to severe hunger to an estimated 525 million people between 2041 to 2060.
According to the findings which were contained in a document titled “The 2023 report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change”, showed that in 2023 alone, the world had experienced the highest temperatures in over 100,000 years and that heat records were broken in all continents through 2022.
“Adults older than 65 years and infants younger than 1 year, for whom extreme heat can be particularly life-threatening, are now exposed to twice as many heatwave days as they would have experienced in 1986–2005,” revealed.
“Harnessing the rapidly advancing science of detection and attribution, new analysis shows that over 60% of the days that reached health-threatening high temperatures in 2020 were made more than twice as likely to occur due to anthropogenic climate change and heat-related deaths of people older than 65 years increased by 85% compared with 1990–2000, substantially higher than the 38% increase that would have been expected had temperatures not changed,” the document stated.
Analyzing the human costs of climate change and its impact on health, the Lancet report said “life-threatening infectious diseases are also projected to spread further, with the length of coastline suitable for Vibrio pathogens expanding by 17–25%, and the transmission potential for dengue increasing by 36–37% by midcentury.”
The scientists also blamed oil and gas as well as financial sectors across the globe for the slow progress in the efforts to tackle the menace of climate change.
“…High energy prices yielded $4 trillion in profits for oil and gas companies, incentivising fossil fuel expansion. Indeed, oil and gas companies allocated only roughly 4% of their capital investment to renewables and further reduced the compliance of their strategies with international climate change goals
“The finance sector is also contributing to growing health threats, as 55% of the private banks that provide the most finance to fossil fuels are increasing their lending,” the report lamented.
However, despite the setbacks, the scientists have identified the little progress that has been achieved in the climate change efforts.
“Notwithstanding the insufficient progress identified, this report reveals the path to a healthy future. Redirecting subsidies, lending, investment, and other financial flows away from fossil fuels is crucial to supporting a healthy future.
“Funds are available to support a just clean energy transition, health-promoting activities, and reduced inequities.
“Empowering countries and local communities in the safe development, deployment, and adoption of clean energies can reduce energy poverty by supporting access to decentralised energy.
“In turn, this can promote access to quality health-supporting services and promote local skills, generate jobs, and support local economies—strengthening the socioeconomic determinants of health,” the report concluded.