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The climate crisis threatens to wipe out decades of health progress, and governments are ill-prepared to reverse it. According to The Guardian, this was reported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which found that health professionals have access to early warning systems for heat and other unusual weather in only about half of the countries monitored.
Three-quarters of national weather agencies send climate data to their country’s health authorities, but fewer than one in four health departments use the information to protect people from risks such as extreme heat. It emerged from a report by the Meteorological Organization.
“Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to human health,” said Madeleine Thomson, head of climate change impacts and adaptation at the charity Wellcome. The association funds health research and contributed to the report. “Many countries already have to deal with the dangerous consequences of record temperatures. Most of them are ill-prepared,” she added.
Although high temperatures kill far more people than other types of extreme weather, health experts only have access to heat warning services in half of the countries surveyed, the report found.
Scientists have warned that heat waves will become hotter and longer due to the climate crisis. The world has already warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Still, this year’s record temperatures have stunned scientists.
“Virtually the entire planet has experienced heat waves this year. The onset of El Niño in 2023 will greatly increase the likelihood of another temperature record, which will trigger even more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the oceans – increasing the challenge,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas .
In an effort to reduce the loss of life, WMO and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) aim to ensure early warning systems for all people on the planet by 2028. According to the WMO, only half of the countries claim to have adequate early warning mechanisms for various climate risks.
The report also criticizes the lack of investment in health care as the planet warms. Only 0.2 percent of loans and grants made for climate adaptation projects went to programs where health was identified as the main objective. “Healthcare is so ill-prepared to protect the most vulnerable,” the document says.
“The climate crisis is a health crisis because it causes more severe and unpredictable weather fluctuations, contributes to greater spread of disease and higher incidence of non-communicable diseases. If we work together to make high-quality climate services available to the health sector, we can contribute to protecting the health and well-being of people who face risks climate change,” said the head of the World Health Organization (WMO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.