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Climate change and health

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Climate change and health

Climate change is causing injuries, illnesses, and deaths, with increases in global temperature projected to further increase morbidity and mortality from most climate-sensitive health outcomes if actions are not taken to rapidly increase adaptation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of particular concern are heat-related morbidity and mortality; vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; undernutrition; and a range of climate-sensitive health outcomes, such as diarrheal diseases, occupational heat stress, mental health, and migration and displacement. Vulnerable populations and regions will be differentially affected, with the potential to increase poverty and inequities. Adaptation (adjustments in response to actual or expected climatic shifts) and mitigation (efforts to reduce to the likelihood of dangerous climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions) are the primary policy responses to address the health risks of climate change. Unmanaged disease burdens could erode gains made in public health, economic development, and living standards worldwide. Sustainable development pathways could delay but not eliminate associated health burdens.

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