Conclusions implications for sustainable development

Evidence has grown that climate change already contributes to the global burden of disease and premature deaths. Climate change plays an important role in the spatial and temporal distribution of malaria, dengue, tick-borne diseases, cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases; is affecting the seasonal distribution and concentrations of some allergenic pollen species; and has increased heat-related mortality. The effects are unequally distributed, and are particularly severe in countries with already high disease burdens, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The projected health impacts of climate change are predominately negative, with the most severe impacts being seen in low-income countries, where the capacity to adapt is weakest. Vulnerable groups in developed countries will also be affected (Haines et al., 2006). Projected increases in temperature and changes in rainfall patterns can increase malnutrition; disease and injury due to heatwaves, floods, storms, fires and droughts; diarrhoeal illness; and the frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone. There are expected to be some benefits to health, including fewer deaths due to exposure to the cold and reductions in climate suitability for vector-borne diseases in some regions. Figure 8.3 summarises the relative direction and magnitude of projected health impacts, taking into account the likely numbers of people at risk and potential adaptive capacity.

Health is central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to sustainable development, both directly (in the case of child mortality, maternal health,

Negative impact

Positive impact

Very high confidence

Malaria: contraction and expansion, changes in transmission season

High confidence

Increase in malnutrition

Increase in the number of people suffering _

from deaths, disease and injuries from extreme weather events

Increase in the frequency of cardio-respiratory ^^^^ diseases from changes in air quality

Change in the range of infectious disease vectors ^

Reduction of cold-related deaths

Medium confidence

Increase in the burden of diarrhoeal diseases

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