Doctors worldwide say they are seeing the effects of climate change firsthand in their patients, many of whom are suffering from issues previously unknown in their countries.
The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the American Thoracic Society polled the latter’s international membership and found that 96% agreed that climate change is happening; 80% found that climate change had “moderately” or “greatly” affected their patients’ health and care.
Nearly nine in ten doctors surveyed had seen increases in the frequency and severity of air pollution-related illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, and cardiovascular disease. “In the very hot summer 2015 we treated 3 patients with heat stroke, a disease formerly virtually unknown in our region,” said one doctor from Switzerland.
According to the UK medical journal The Lancet, climate change will kill about 250,000 people per year between 2030 and 2050, and undo 50 years of public health gains. “The effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health,” the journal said.