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WHO calls for stronger action to reduce health risks from climate change

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5403 (Published 01 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5403
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

The World Health Organization has called for more concerted action worldwide to reduce the health risks associated with climate change. Backed by scientific experts at its first conference on health and climate change, held in Geneva on 27-29 August, WHO also said that effective mitigation and adaptation could benefit global public health significantly.

The organisation’s director general, Margaret Chan, told more than 300 delegates at the conference that current debates were not giving enough attention to the “profound effects that climate variables have on health.”

“The evidence is overwhelming; climate change endangers human health,” Chan said. “Solutions exist and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory.”

WHO has estimated that climate change could cause about 250 000 additional deaths a year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress from 2030 to 2050. It …

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