The United Nations Agency estimates that the health costs of treating those who do not die in bad air are more than $ 5 billion a year in their new report, issued at the Katowice Climate Change Conference. The 15 states with the highest emissions of greenhouse gases would have to spend about 4 percent of their gross domestic product, to finance only the health consequences of air pollution, write the WHO experts. By contrast, it would only cost one percent of global economic output to achieve the goals of the Paris climate treaty. At the same time, millions of people could be saved from death by the middle of the century.
It is clear that climate change has a major impact on human health and life, said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus. The same factors are responsible for the warming of the earth and a poor health. „The true costs of climate change are reflected in our hospitals and lungs,“ said WHO Director Maria Neira. If health is included in climate policy, combating climate change is an opportunity and not a cost factor.
The study cites direct effects such as storms, droughts, floods, heat waves and forest fires. Indirect consequences of climate change include authors‘ quality of drinking water and respiratory air and the need for rural residents to adjust their lives. Health effects include mental illness, malnutrition, injury, respiratory and heart disease, allergies, infections, poisoning, heat stroke, and water-borne illness.
On the list of WHO’s recommendations are the abandonment of the use of fossil fuels, so especially coal and oil. The WHO complains that in the climate protection projects health issues played only a minor role and there is no money for it.