Global warming is expected to have significant health impacts both in Canada and around the world. The likely impacts include an increase in heat-related deaths and in deaths and disease due to air pollution, which is worsened by higher temperatures. More frequent and more intense severe weather events will result in increased deaths, injuries and disease in Canada, but the biggest impact will be felt in low-lying, heavily populated areas such as Bangladesh, particularly when coupled with sea level rise attendant upon global warming.
A variety of insect-borne diseases are likely to become more widespread and more readily transmissible as a result of global warming; the largest impact will be a hefty increase in the number of people around the world exposed to malaria, while in North America we need to be concerned about Lyme disease, dengue fever and the encephalitides. Global warming will also affect agricultural, forest and marine ecosystems, as well as the Arctic, with consequences for food production and for the life styles of Canada’s First Nations, who depend on those ecosystems for their sustenance.
Because of the potentially profound long-term health impacts of climate change, CAPE has been actively involved in working with the David Suzuki Foundation, Pollution Probe, the Canadian Public Health Association, Health Canada’s Office on Climate Change and Health and others to better understand the health effects of global change and the role of the health sector in addressing this issue.
For a good summary of the science and human health implications of global climate change, the CMA has a policy statement on this topic.
More Information and Resources
The David Suzuki Foundation has a site devoted to taking action on climate change issues.
Other sites that address this issue directly are:
- Centre for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard School of Public Health
- CPHA Climate Change and Health Project