The Climate Coalition Health Report addresses the severe health issues related to climate change which are a reminder of the need to rapidly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and reach a zero carbon economy. It is only through successful global action to reduce emissions we will stop climate change – and we must reduce our emissions as our contribution. Adaptation will have a central role in reducing climate impacts and hence health effects. The co-benefits for our health in tackling climate change will include cleaner air, improved wellbeing, and a reduction in the pressure being placed on the NHS. If, for example, just a quarter of the population in England cycled regularly and there was widespread use of electric bikes, all-cause mortality (total deaths from any cause) could fall by 11%.
The report shows that approximately 1.8 million people in the UK are living in areas at significant risk of flooding - a number which could increase to 2.6 million by 2050. Just under 12 million people in the UK are also dangerously vulnerable to future summer heatwaves, particularly the elderly or people with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. If decision-makers commit to take urgent, decisive action, we will live healthier lives with cleaner air and more green spaces. It is only through successful global action to reduce emissions we will stop climate change – and we must reduce our emissions as our contribution.