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Climate change and health: Moving from theory to practice

Patz, Jonathan A.; Thomson, Madeleine C.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has produced five comprehensive assessments for the world’s governments; a health chapter has featured in all but the first assessment report, along with climate change impacts on our atmosphere, oceans, and landscapes. Research on the health risks from climate change has grown substantially, with findings suggesting that the global health gains achieved over the past half century are being undermined by climate change [1]. Hazardous exposure pathways are many, from heat waves and air pollution episodes to infectious diseases, malnutrition, forced migration, and conflict [2]. Impacts are experienced differently within segments of the population and between geographic locations based on biological, social, and economic vulnerabilities as well as the nature of the climate hazard.

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