MILLIONS OF LIVES COULD BE SAVED
MEETING the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change could save about 1 million lives a year worldwide by 2050 through reductions in air pollution alone, the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed in a report this week.
Air pollution causes 7 million deaths globally every year and costs about $5.11 trillion (R70.6 trillion) in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4% of their gross domestic product.
“The Paris Agreement is the strongest health agreement of this century,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general. “The evidence is clear that climate change is already having a serious impact on human lives. It threatens the basic elements we all need for good health – clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter – and will undermine decades of progress in global health.” | Sheree Bega