Climate change is already affecting health

The CO2 concentration is increasing at record speed. Emissions must be reduced more massively than planned in order to avert a climate catastrophe – and the heat is already affecting many people’s health today.

Shortly before the world climate conference in Bonn, UN organizations, doctors and economists sound the alarm. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased faster than ever before. Climate change is already damaging the health of many people. In addition, the countries would have to do a lot more than previously planned to avert a climate collapse. These are the facts for the World Climate Conference in Bonn, which begins next Monday.

Even if all the climate protection commitments made so far by the countries are adhered to, the temperature of the earth will increase by at least three degrees compared to the time before industrialization, according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP). The program presented this admonishing interim report on Tuesday in Geneva. In the Paris Agreement, the states agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees if possible, but in any case to well below 2 degrees.

According to the World Weather Organization (WMO), it is already 1.2 degrees warmer on earth. The two-degree target is considered the ultimate limit to avert catastrophic climate impacts. Many researchers warn of barely tolerable consequences for mankind even at plus 1.5 degrees: melting of the ice caps, rising sea levels, more extreme weather conditions. “There is an urgent need to accelerate the short-term measures and to make the long-term goals more ambitious,” says the Unep report. The states’ climate targets would only result in a third of the emission reductions that would be necessary by 2030 to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

What effects climate change is already having

Although the set climate targets will not be enough by 2030, there is a ray of hope: The global emissions of the most important greenhouse gas CO2 of 35.8 Gt have remained relatively stable over the past three years. Part of the stabilization comes from the expansion of renewable energies, especially in China and India. However, if coal-fired power plants were built, emissions could quickly rise again.

The Unep report also shows specific ways in which countries can save CO2 at low cost. Renewable energies, more energy efficiency, afforestation and avoidance of forest destruction could be implemented at low costs or even bring profits.

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