HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Impact of Climate Change: Why Health Matters

Naveen Sukumaran (Cochin University), Impact of Climate Change: Why Health Matters (2022):

The effects of climate change on human health and lives of billions of people are already being felt throughout the world. Global warming alters various natural systems causing shifting rain patterns and distribution, glacial melting, and changes in the behavior and ecology of species and ecosystems. Such changes have resulted in rising sea levels, droughts, floods, and heat waves, and changes in the distribution and behavior of vectors and pathogens causing direct and indirect impact on human health. Physical trauma represents only a fraction of the health impact of climate change, most of the impact is due to non-traumatic conditions such as cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney, and vector-borne diseases, mental illness and psychosocial problems. Scientific studies have well established the unequivocal link between climate change, meteorological risks, and health. The capacity of health care systems to respond productively to the direct and indirect health effects of climate change is a challenge worldwide, especially among many of the least developed and developing countries, which suffer from unorganised, incompetent and insufficient health care resources. Climate change affects the most basic rights to health including right to clear air, safe water, sufficient food and adequate shelter. Health inequity and inequality, manifested through poverty, low education levels, food security, and other factors, play a major role in determining the extent of those health impacts. There is noticeable increase in research output on climate change and health in recent years. This paper attempts to analyze various health impacts associated with climate change and policies and strategies adopted to overcome them.

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