Edited by A. J. McMichael, A. Haines, R. Slooff and S. Kovats
Change and Human Health
of control options exists to help protect population health from the adverse
effects ofclimate change. At the population level, priority should be
given to adaptive measures that are not energy-intensive and do not damage
health or the environment.
the planting of trees within cities to reduce the urban heat island effect,the
scheduling of outdoor work to avoid peak daytime temperatures, the development
of climate-adjusted plant species through genetic engineering, and the
adoption of land-use planning to minimize erosion, flash-flooding, poor
siting of residential areas, and deforestation.
Such adaptive, "antidotal"
measures offer varying, often limited amounts of health protection, and
may be temporizing measures only. In light of these shortcomings, the
primary immediate precaution is prevention: populations everywhere must
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
in poor nations will be more feasible and acceptable if they also help
met preexisting needs. For example, the development and large-scale introduction
of a low-cost, solar-energy cooking device in developing countries would
help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation rates, and reduce
indoor air pollution levels.
During the period
2025-2100,about one-quarter of the global increase in CO2 emissions is
expected to arise from population growth. International transfer of resources
to the developing world to help curb population growth may be as beneficial
as that intended to counter deforestation.
Currently, only 1%
of international donor aid is spent on family planning. some studies suggest
that a modest increase to 2-3% would suffice to make family planning accessible
worldwide by around the year 2000.
A number of industrialized countries have far exceeded the capacity of their own territory to feed and support their population and thus rely on extensive imports purchased on the international market. Industrialized nations must show a commitment to reducing their consumption patterns, particularly by a shift to alternative energy sources.
Work on the report began in 1993 following receipt of a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Further financial resources were obtained from the government of the Netherlands and the three participating UN agencies (WHO,WMO, and UNEP, with WHO designated the coordinating agency). An international task group of experts was formed under the direction of A. J. Michael, and met three times in two years. The views expressed in the report reflect the consensus reached by this Task Group and do not necessarily reflect the the policies of the participating agencies.