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Future under threat: climate change and children’s health

Farrant, B., Armstrong, F. and Albrecht, G. (2012) Future under threat: climate change and children’s health. The Conversation, 9 October .

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Climate change has been widely recognised by leading public health organisations and prestigious peer reviewed journals as the the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

A recently released report, commissioned by 20 of the most vulnerable countries, highlights the size of the threat: climate change is already responsible for 400,000 deaths annually, mostly from hunger and communicable disease. And our carbon-intensive energy system causes another 4.5 million deaths annually, largely due to air pollution.

Along with the old and disadvantaged, children are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. Children suffer around 90% of the disease burden from climate change.

What can our children expect if we continue the way we’re going?

Even if current international carbon reduction commitments are honoured, the global temperature rise is predicted to be more than double the internationally agreed target of 2°C. Humanity continues to pour record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. It has been argued that, if this continues, reasonable hope of avoiding dangerous climate change will have passed us by in a mere 16 years.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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