Climate Change Is The Greatest Threat To Public Health, Top Medical Journals Warn
The rapidly warming climate is the "greatest threat" to global public health, more than 200 medical journals are warning in an unprecedented joint statement that urges world leaders to cut heat-trapping emissions to avoid "catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse."
The editorial, which was published in leading journals such as The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal, says the world can't wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass before addressing climate change.
"No temperature rise is 'safe'," the editorial says. "In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people over 65 years of age has increased by more than 50%."
Hotter temperatures are already taxing public health systems. Last week, Hurricane Ida caused dozens of deaths across several states from flash flooding and other impacts. With the power grid down, some died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by using generators. In the aftermath of the storm in Jefferson Parish in Louisiana, local officials have been working to provide transportation for those who need dialysis and other medical care.