Implementation of proposed fossil-fuel restrictions aimed at mitigating unhealthy climate change could weaken the global economic system, increase the incidence of poverty-related illness worldwide and fail to affect climate. So concludes a panel of scientists and physicians in a groundbreaking report, Global Climate Change and Human Health, released today by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
Doomsayers are suggesting that the human race is on the brink of climatic destruction because of high-yield agriculture and other practices that are fundamental to the well-being of the human population. These fearmongers are foretelling ghastly increases in the worldwide incidence of infectious diseases, respiratory illnesses, malnutrition, food poisoning, and deaths due to heat waves. To prevent climate change and its potential health outcomes, they are demanding severe restrictions on the burning of fossil fuels in industrialized countries only.
But, as the ACSH panel notes in Global Climate Change and Human Health:
* Nearly all of the potential adverse health effects of projected climate change are significant, real-life problems that have long persisted under stable climatic conditions. Bolstering efforts to eliminate or alleviate such problems would both decrease the current incidence of premature death and facilitate dealing with the health risks of any climate change that might occur.
* Implementation of proposed fossil-fuel restrictions may disrupt the economies of developed nations, impoverish developing nations, and hamper international-aid and public health programs.
According to ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, "Dealing with present-day and foreseeable world-scale challenges to human health such as poverty-related exposure to infectious diseases outweighs trying to prevent disputed hypothetical events."
In Global Climate Change and Human Health, the ACSH panel concludes that adaptational measures measures to improve economies, healthcare systems, and living conditions should be the central component of any policy concerning the potential health impact of climate change.