Climate Change and Human Health

Building a green and climate resilient health sector, and protecting human health from the impact of  climate change

The sixth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has documented some of the impacts of climate change on human health. According to the report climate change has adversely affected physical and mental health of people globally; extreme heat events have resulted in human mortality and morbidity and has increased incidences of food-borne, water-borne and vector-borne diseases. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are creating humanitarian crises, damaging infrastructure, displacing people and impeding livelihoods of millions of people every year. In all this mayhem, poor and marginalised people are suffering the most. It is, hence, the need of the hour to make health care accessible and affordable to all in an ecologically sustainable manner. Indian health care sector needs to prepare itself to manage the impacts of extreme weather events and shifting burden of diseases.

HCWH’s Roadmap for Health care Decarbonisation assesses that globally health care’s climate footprint is significantly high – 4.4% of global net emissions which is equal to 2 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Indian health care sector’s climate footprint is 1.5% of India’s net emissions – 38.8 MMtCO2e. Given the necessity to expand the network of health care facilities to ensure Universal Heath Coverage, India must take immediate measures to change the course of development and adopt decarbonisation strategies. IPCC’s special report on global warming of 1.5° C alerts about the devastating impacts that could be expected at the 2° C Paris goal. Every sector, every institute and every individual have a role to play.