Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Climate action brings big benefits to human health

A press release from the UN Environment Programme: Fast action to cut common pollutants like soot - also known as black carbon - and methane will not only slow global warming, but save millions of lives. Reductions of these so-called short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) would slow rapid melting in the Arctic and in mountain regions with glaciers, like the Himalayas.  It would also bring multiple health, crop and ecosystem benefits, and decrease risks to development from flooding and water shortages  says a new scientific study released today.

 “The health of people around the world will improve greatly if we reduce emissions of black carbon and methane. Limiting these emissions also will be an important contributor to the fight against climate change," said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.“The damage from indoor cooking smoke alone is horrendous - every year, 4 million people die from exposure to the smoke. With cleaner air, cities will become more productive, food production will increase and children will be healthier.”

On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Livesis about how climate change is affecting the cryosphere - those snow-capped mountain ranges, brilliant glaciers and vast permafrost regions on which all of us depend.

It warns that current warming in the cryosphere could have dire human consequences from resulting sea level rise, increased water stress and more extreme weather.  For example, the release of large CO2 and methane stores as a result of melting permafrost could contribute up to 30% more carbon to the atmosphere by the end of the century....

An iceberg off Baffin Bay in Greenland, US Air Force photo

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