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Climate change would be a major killer by 2050

 

Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara

Photo credit: Independent (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Bhubaneswar |

Last updated 24 Mar 2016 11:30 +0530

  Climate Change, Food Security, Climate Mortality, India
Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study projects that climate change could lead to 529000 climate-related deaths worldwide in the year 2050 because of changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors in the adult populations of 155 world regions.
 

Climate change, while reducing the quantity of food harvested, would lead to higher food prices, thus, reduced consumption and increased climate caused mortality, says a study conducted by The Lancet, a UK based medical research and journal publishing house, under Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food.

Based on quantitative analysis of the global health implications of dietary and weight changes in light of climate change and agricultural production, the study titled “Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study” projects that “those changes could lead to 529 000 climate-related deaths worldwide in the year 2050 because of changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors in the adult populations of 155 world regions.”

Number of such deaths in India for the year 2050, as projected by the study, would be 105 per every million of its population placing it at sixth in the ranking after China, Vietnam, Greece, Republic of Korea and Madagascar.

“Twice as many climate-related deaths were associated with reductions in fruit and vegetable consumption than with climate-related increases in the prevalence of underweight, and most climate-related deaths were projected to occur in South and East Asia,” says the report adding that “changes in food availability and consumption affect dietary and weight-related risk factors associated with an increased incidence of non-communicable diseases and mortality.”

Even though food availability and consumption are projected to be higher in 2050 than in 2010, the study finds, “by 2050, climate change could lead to relative reductions of 3·2% in global food availability, 4·0% in fruit and vegetable consumption, and 0·7% in red meat consumption, compared with a projection without climate change.”

The health effects of climate change in forms of dietary and weight-related risk factors could be substantial, and may exceed the climate-related health impacts estimated by organisations like WHO.

Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s, the WHO report while quantifying climate-related mortality caused by heat, coastal flooding, diarrhoeal disease, malaria, dengue, and under-nutrition in 2050, projects that the most substantial health effects of climate change in 2050 would be caused by heat and under-nutrition resulting in 95000 deaths and 85000 deaths respectively.

Quotation starts

...by 2050, climate change could lead to relative reductions of 3·2% in global food availability, 4·0% in fruit and vegetable consumption, and 0·7% in red meat consumption, compared with a projection without climate change.

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Most heat-related deaths would occur in high-income countries and in South and East Asia, and most under-nutrition-related deaths among children would occur in sub-Saharan Africa and in south Asia, as per the WHO report.

While the estimate of climate-related deaths represents a substantial reduction in the progress towards greater food and nutrition security that is projected to occur until 2050, the sensitivity analysis suggests that climate change mitigation could greatly reduce the number of climate-related deaths.

Strengthening of public health programmes aimed at preventing and treating diet and weight-related risk factors could be a suitable climate change adaptation strategy, suggests the Lancet study with the hope that “Adoption of climate-stabilisation pathways would reduce the number of climate-related deaths by a rate between 29% and 71%, depending on their stringency.”

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