Skip to main content

69% of cities involved have reported taking action to reduce the risks of climate change

Countries and cities show significant response to climate change, report suggests

According to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, which involves the University of Exeter, countries and cities are responding to the growing threat that global warming poses.

The finding came from the Lancet's comprehensive yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets—or business as usual—means for human health. The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institution, which includes The University of Exeter.

The research has shown that half of countries and 69% of cities involved have reported taking action to reduce the risk that climate change poses, with concerns for the impact of climate change on public health and health services being a key motivator for this action.

Senior Lecturer and research lead, Dr Karyn Morrissey said: “It’s great to be able to report that countries and cities are taking action to reduce climate change and recognise it’s impact on human health. The report shows the severe negative health impacts, worsening crop failures and extreme weather events that face the next generation if we carry on with ‘business-as-usual’. However, this is only the early stages of what is a difficult problem to tackle and much more effort is needed if we are to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.”

Climate change is already damaging the health of the world’s children and is set to shape the wellbeing of an entire generation unless the world meets Paris Agreement targets to limit warming to well below 2˚C, according to the report published in The Lancet.

Professor Hugh Montgomery, Co-Chair of The Lancet Countdown and Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London said: “This year, the accelerating impacts of climate change have become clearer than ever. The highest recorded temperatures in Western Europe and wildfires in Siberia, Queensland, and California triggered asthma, respiratory infections and heat stroke. Sea levels are now rising at an ever concerning rate. Our children recognize this Climate Emergency and demand action to protect them. We must listen, and respond."

For the world to meet its climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, and soon, the report warns. Nothing short of a 7.4% year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C.

The full report can be found on the Lancet Countdown website.

For more updates visit the Medical School news pages and follow @ExeterMed on Twitter.

Date: 13 November 2019