The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change has released its eighth annual report ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change conference in Dubai, known as COP28. The report is signed by 114 experts from 52 research institutions and UN agencies around the world, including the WHO and the World Meteorological Organization. According to the report, all indicators are pointing in the wrong direction, and it warns that the globe is preparing to surpass the recommended 1.5 C limit, tracking on course for 2.7 C of heating by 2100. Despite this, governments, companies, and banks are increasing their investments in oil and gas, leading to a probable 4.7-fold rise in heat-related deaths by mid-century.
In 2023, heat records were broken on every continent as people faced an average of 86 days of health-threatening heat. These changing weather patterns and warming seas are contributing to the spread of infectious diseases and bacteria linked to various health issues. Moreover, more than a quarter of surveyed cities’ health systems are being overwhelmed by the combined consequences of climate change.
The report also indicates that rising temperatures worsen food insecurity due to more frequent heatwaves and droughts. This has led to an increase in moderate to severe food insecurity among 127 million people worldwide in 2021 compared to between 1981 and 2010. It is projected that this number will rise by an additional 525 million between 2041 and