COP26: climate health impacts to hit Mediterranean and Middle East hardest

Energy & Climate Change, Flooding

From Karen Thomas in Glasgow

People in the Mediterranean and Middle East are among those most at risk from climate-related health impacts from heatwaves, droughts, flash floods, food insecurity, insect-and water-borne infectious diseases and air pollution, scientists told the COP26 climate summit this morning.

As climate change brings more extreme weather that disrupts ecological and socioeconomic systems, it will drive new waves of migration that also cause ill health. And people living in the Mediterranean and Middle East will be among those hardest hit, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) said.

“The Mediterranean and Middle East regions are hotspots; the effects of climate change are greater here than in other regions,” it warned. “There is also less information available to quantify the effects, understand attribution and implement solutions in this region than in some others.”

All areas of policy need to tackle climate impacts on health, said epidemiologist Sir Andy Haines.

EASAC, the Centre for International Climate Research and Women Leaders for Planetary Health called for more knowledge sharing to tackle the health impacts of climate change. “There is no human health without planetary health,” they warned.

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