Dr. Courtney Howard, MD

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The health effects of climate change: Know the risks and become part of the solutions

Abstract

Climate change presents a clear and present danger to human health. Health impacts are already being demonstrated in Canada, which is warming at roughly twice the global rate. A recent United Nations Environment Emissions Gap Report noted that if countries maintain current emission efforts, emissions will exceed the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement and global warming will exceed 2°C worldwide. An important consequence of global warming is an increase in health risks. Much can be done to prevent and mitigate the health impacts of climate change, and understanding and communicating these has been shown to be one of the best ways of motivating action. This editorial provides an overview of the some of the global and national initiatives underway to decrease emissions, and address the health risks of climate change in general, and highlights some of the national initiatives underway to mitigate the increased risk of infectious diseases in Canada in particular.

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