The climate crisis is an international threat that threatens the United States. Its consequences can impact human health and livelihoods. For instance, it can lead to increased wildfires, drought, heat stress, and flooding. Climate changes also disrupt food systems and water supplies. Moreover, it affects people's ability to access health care.
Scientists and experts agree that global warming is a clear threat. As a result, the United States is scaling up its efforts to address the problem. Since the beginning of the century, scientists have studied the effects of human-induced climate change. Today, long-term data show that the average temperature of the Earth has risen by more than one degree Celsius since the preindustrial era. In addition, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting.
At the recent UN climate talks in Paris, world leaders agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C. But it's not a done deal. Many countries are raising their ambitions, and the United States has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent or more by 2030.
While many countries are making progress on their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, it's not enough. We have to set a clear path to net-zero carbon and move countries into a more sustainable and decarbonized energy economy. Our success is dependent on everyone doing their part. Specifically, we have to set a timeline for our emissions reduction goals and ensure that we have sufficient funding to meet them. If we fail to act, we will pass the costs onto future generations.
Among the climate impacts that will affect health are rising sea levels, longer, more intense droughts, and more extreme weather. Additionally, the climate crisis is fueling socioeconomic tensions around the globe. These are exacerbated by the lack of access to health services, especially for those who are vulnerable.
People living in low-income areas are particularly vulnerable. Climate change will negatively affect their food and water supplies and access to health care. Moreover, there is a growing gap in economic power between rich and poor nations. However, the United States is committed to a whole-of-government approach that will address both domestic and international concerns.
One of the most urgent challenges is the increasing threat of floods. Flooding can disrupt and damage ecosystems, as well as infrastructure. Furthermore, flooding can lead to the spread of diseases. This means that the health impacts of the climate crisis will be disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable.
Another major concern is erosion. Due to the rapid thinning of glaciers and ice sheets, sea levels are rising. The melting of the polar ice caps is increasing the risk of coastal areas becoming inundated by storm surges. Water-borne disease is likely to increase.
Climate change is also expected to lead to increases in vector-borne diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea. Increased temperatures will also cause greater risk of heat stress, which can lead to malnutrition.
The United States, as a leading nation, has a responsibility to lead by example. President Biden has pledged to reduce the United States' emissions by 50 to 52 percent in 2030. He also plans to triple the government's investment in climate adaptation programs.
# heat stress