The first global knowledge platform dedicated to climate and health – climahealth.info – was launched today by the Joint Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with support from the Wellcome Trust. It is in response to growing calls for actionable information to protect people from the health risks of climate change and other environmental hazards.
Climate and health are inextricably linked. Climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation have fundamental impact on human health and well-being. More people than ever before are exposed to increased climate-related health risks, from poor water and air quality to infectious diseases and heat stress.
“Climate change is killing people right now,” said Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, coordinator of WHO’s climate change and health programme. “It is affecting the basics we need to survive – clean air, safe water, food and shelter – with the worst impacts being felt by the most vulnerable. Unmitigated climate change has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health. Reducing its impacts requires evidence-based policy backed by the best available science and tools.”
The use of tailored climate and environmental science and tools for public health, such as disease forecasting and heat health early warning systems, have enormous life-saving potential. These tools and resources can enhance our understanding of the connections between climate and health, help us reach at-risk populations, and anticipate and reduce impacts.