COVID-19

Health: post-COVID recovery should be “greener,” urges report

Urgent action is needed to incorporate climate change mitigation into post-COVID stimulus packages; Otherwise, inequalities in global health will widen even further, experts urge in a report Thursday.

A few days before the launch of COP26, which begins on October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland, an annual report from The Lancet medical journal (“The Lancet countdown”) analyzes 44 indicators of health impacts directly related to climate change. .

The authors’ observation is clear: “the main trends are worsening and exacerbating the social and health inequalities that already exist.”

According to them, many stimulus packages implemented to deal with the repercussions of COVID-19 are not compatible with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and will have “long-term health implications”.

Because climate change creates “ideal conditions for the transmission of infectious diseases, potentially reversing decades of advances in the fight against diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika, malaria and cholera,” the Lancet report insists.

“Climate change is here and we are already seeing it affecting human health around the world,” said Professor Anthony Costello, managing director of The Lancet Countdown, in the journal statement.

Thus, in 2021 “the populations of 134 countries experienced an increase in exposure to forest fires (…) Drought is more widespread than ever,” he points out. Too many indicators are “flashing red”.

“But the good news is that the enormous efforts of countries to reactivate their economies after the pandemic can be geared towards responding to climate change and COVID-19 simultaneously. We have the choice. The COVID-19 recovery can be a green recovery, ”he said.

As countries commit billions of dollars to restart their economies, the report urges political leaders and policy makers to use this public spending to reduce inequalities.

Promoting a green recovery by creating new green jobs will help preserve the health of populations today and tomorrow, he argues.

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