A new report from a United Nations climate panel is warning of the deadly effects of climate change both now and in the future — and finding that they are currently worse than scientists had believed they would be.
The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of health risks from climate change, including from heat exposure, disease and mental health issues.
It said that globally, extreme heat events have already resulted in deaths. And it said that since the last time the IPCC issued a report in 2014, there have been more extreme events, including “heat-related human mortality,” that have been attributed to human-caused climate change.
The panel’s report described major additional risks in the decades to come, particularly between the years 2040 and 2100.
“Climate change and related extreme events will significantly increase ill health and premature deaths from the near- to long-term,” said a summary of the findings.
In particular, the panel raised concern about exposure to heat waves as well as food-borne and water-borne disease risks and disease from pests like mosquitoes. It particularly warned of increases in the risk of diseases from a certain type of mosquito, “potentially putting additional billions of people at risk by the end of the century.”
And it warned of increased mental health issues such as anxiety and stress.
The report also warned that some of the effects currently being seen are worse than previously projected.
“The extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger than estimated in previous assessments,” the summary said, particularly highlighting “substantial damages” and “increasingly irreversible losses” to ecosystems and “shifts in seasonal timing.”