The UN climate experts give us a new, hardly optimistic report in which they evoke the harmful effects of global warming on human health for years to come.
In this report, they anticipate a sharp deterioration in human health due to a disturbed climate. Tens of millions of people will suffer from malnutrition. To this will be added the consequences of ever more extreme and devastating climatic hazards, leading to diseases, droughts or floods, and poor agricultural yields. Many of these consequences are already observable, but experts predict that they will be inevitable in the short term and of greater intensity. For Maria Neira, director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health of the World Health Organization,: "nearly 80 million additional people will be threatened by hunger by 2050, a cascading consequence poor harvests and a decline in the nutritional value of some products. " She specifies that: “Human health is based on three pillars: food, access to water and shelter. Yet they are vulnerable and threaten to collapse ”.
In their report, the experts of the IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) identified precisely the threats to come. Among these is nutrition. Indeed, water stress in many parts of the world could undermine the production of essential staples such as rice and corn. The study mentions that 40% of rice producing regions are in danger. As for corn, its production continues to decline year after year. Another indirect consequence of the increase in the frequency of bad harvests will be a growing depletion of protein inputs from rice, wheat, barley or potatoes. They should drop between 6% and 14%. Tens of millions of people will then suffer from food deficiencies, in addition to chronic malnutrition as recalled by Elizabeth Robinson, professor of environmental economics at the British University of Reading: "The regions of the world where agricultural production will be the most. affected by the climate, are also those where populations already suffer from high rates of malnutrition ”.
Falling supply, rising demand, the perfect cocktail for an explosion in selling prices. 30% by 2050 anticipate the experts. And it is obviously the poorest populations, already weakened, who will pay the heavy price. We think of course of the populations of Africa and Asia.
The report focuses on three specific areas that will cause growing concern over time. First of all, the most important: water. Its deficiency threatens just over half of the world's population. Experts point out that the rise in global temperatures will impact nearly 75% of groundwater supplies - the main source of drinking water for 2.5 billion humans - by 2050, while the melting of glaciers has already "strongly" affected the water cycle ”(rivers, seas, evaporation, rain). There will then follow a forced exodus for 30 to 140 million people in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America and a drop of half a point in global GDP.
Besides the water problem, warming will accelerate the spread of disease. The report states that: “By 2050, half of the planet's inhabitants could be exposed to dengue, yellow fever or viruses like Zika. The ravages of malaria or Lyme disease will increase and deaths from childhood diarrhea will increase at least until the middle of the century, despite socio-economic development. Diseases related to air quality, including ozone pollution, typical of heat waves, will also “increase substantially”. “There will also be increased risks of water or food contamination” by marine toxins. "
Finally, the experts also evoke the risk of weakening our health systems. Without linking climate change to the Covid 19 pandemic that the planet is going through, this virus has had the merit of shedding light on the flaws in our systems. Stephanie Tye, researcher at the NGO World Resources Institute, explains that: “Covid has highlighted the fault lines in our health systems. The effects of climate change will strain health systems even more, for even longer periods of time and in ways we do not yet fully understand ”.