Warming world risks adding 9 million deaths annually, WHO warns

GENEVA – Rising temperatures are making it increasingly difficult to reach global health goals.

There is a risk of more than nine million climate-related deaths each year by the end of the century, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“All aspects of health are affected by climate change – from clean air, water and soil to food systems and livelihoods,” the WHO said in its annual World Health Statistics report released on Friday.

“Further delay in tackling climate change will increase health risks, undermine decades of improvements in global health, and contravene our collective commitments,” it said.

Despite contributing the least historically to historical global emissions, African countries, poorer nations and small island developing states face the greatest health consequences of climate change, the WHO said.

Changing temperature and rain patterns also threaten to push transmission of mosquito, tick and rodent-borne diseases that already kill more than 700,000 people each year into new regions.

While some regions are facing severe drought and others grapple with flooding and conflict, disease outbreaks – including the Marburg virus, cholera and wild polio – are straining often limited resources, health workforces and infrastructure. BLOOMBERG