Exploring health risks from climate change in a global context
11 November 2022
Climate change is a global health emergency, with its impacts felt most acutely by vulnerable populations and communities.
A new policy brief from the UK Universities Network and the Egypt Academy of Scientific Research and Technology - that Plymouth Marine Laboratory contributed to - explores these health risks in a global context, setting out key risks and actions towards addressing these.
Dr Gemma Kulk, Phytoplankton Physiologist and Senior Scientist at PML, who co-authored the publication 'Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Health', said:
“We have worked alongside British and Egyptian partners to produce a policy brief that explores the global health risks of climate change, with a focus on Egypt as a case study in the context of COP27.”
“Egypt itself falls into a group of countries particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change, due to the triple effect of the country’s weather.”
‘Low rainfall, hot summers; the nature of the land, desert and delta, large and densely populated cities; and geography, with the country having one main river and a long coastline. With a densely populated Nile Delta region, a rise in sea level would threaten people’s lives, agriculture, access to clean water, and the economy as a whole. Without adaptation measures, as many as 2.4 million people in Egypt are likely to suffer from the risks of floods between 2070 and 2100.’ [Excerpt from the paper]
Above: Dr Gemma Kulk speaking on the COP27 panel: ‘The ocean, society, and the drive towards net zero – challenges, opportunities and cross-sectorial responses including business, science, finance, and transport’
Dr Kulk, who is currently in Egypt for COP27, continues:
“Climate change is already having wide-ranging detrimental effects on human health and it is vital that considerations of such health risks are fully taken into account within international climate negotiations. Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures have important co-benefits for health - for example through early warning systems for natural disasters to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases - and there are clear incentives for a joined-up, whole system approach.”