The World Health Organisation outlines how climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter, and estimates that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
The Australian Academy of Science released a report titled “Climate change challenges to health: Risks and opportunities” talked about five main impacts of climate change.
- First, extreme weather events directly impacting on lives, homes and communities, and placing stress on the mental wellbeing of members of the community during prolonged events such as intense heatwaves.
- Second, many diseases are likely to spread and increase in incidence as the climate warms. A growing human population with high rates of interconnectedness is also at risk from newly emergent and exotic diseases for which we have no treatment or immunity.
- Third, disrupted supplies of water and high temperatures will stress crops and promote algal blooms in reservoirs while rising ocean acidification will affect fisheries.
- Fourth, jobs – including farming, fishing and tourism – will be particularly badly affected from soaring temperatures, droughts and storms. Employment patterns will be changed and disruptions to supply chains will threaten businesses.
- Lastly, threatened food supply chains, changing patterns of infectious diseases, and forced migration from land rendered uninhabitable will trigger tension, unrest and violent conflict.