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Two grim reports on global climate efforts highlight increased fossil fuel subsidies, ill health

by Andrew Wright
3 comments
Climate Crisis

Two disheartening reports released on Tuesday shed light on the inadequacies of global climate efforts, revealing a distressing reality where people are suffering from increased health issues and mortality due to the escalating impacts of climate change and the continued subsidization of fossil fuels.

The Lancet’s annual Countdown on climate and health, a publication in the field of health, has highlighted a concerning rise in heat-related deaths, particularly among the elderly population. This report projects that these fatalities will continue to rise as global temperatures increase. A collaborative effort by an international team comprising doctors, scientists, and economists, this report examined 47 different metrics, extending beyond the realm of health, to diagnose the planet’s deteriorating health. Notably, it emphasizes the harm directly attributed to the fossil fuel industry.

Simultaneously, the World Resources Institute, in conjunction with Climate Action Tracker, the Bezos Earth Fund, and others, issued their “State of Climate Action” report. This comprehensive assessment identified that the world is off track in 41 out of 42 crucial measurements related to climate action. Alarming trends, such as increasing fossil fuel subsidies, are indicative of this deviation from the necessary course. The report underscores six indicators that are moving in the wrong direction, with fossil fuel subsidies being a prominent concern.

The Lancet’s report reveals a staggering 85% increase in heat-related deaths among individuals aged 65 and older over the past decade when compared to the period from 1991 to 2000. Further analysis attributes a significant portion of these deaths to climate change rather than population growth, emphasizing the immediate and tangible consequences of global warming.

In the United States, heat-related deaths among the elderly have surged by 88% in the last five years compared to the period from 2000 to 2004, with climate change identified as the primary driver behind this alarming trend. Shockingly, the report estimates that there were 23,200 heat-related deaths among the elderly in the year 2022 alone.

The Lancet Countdown Executive Director, Marina Romanello, aptly summarized the gravity of the situation, stating, “We are already seeing climate change claiming lives and livelihoods in every part of the world.” She emphasized the urgent need to address climate change promptly to avert a potentially perilous future.

Moreover, the reports directly censure the fossil fuel industry, likening its impact to that of tobacco companies. The banks that provide financial support to the fossil fuel sector do not escape criticism either.

One striking revelation in the Lancet report is the fact that 68 countries provided over $300 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies in 2020 alone. Similarly, the “State of Climate Action” report highlights the alarming escalation of fossil fuel consumption subsidies, which reached an unprecedented level of over $1 trillion in response to the energy price spikes caused by the war in Ukraine.

These reports collectively sound a dire warning about the trajectory of climate change and the health-related repercussions it carries. They underscore the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels, not only for environmental reasons but also for the immediate health benefits it would offer.

In conclusion, the findings presented in these reports emphasize the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for swift, decisive action to combat its devastating consequences. The world must prioritize radical decarbonization across all sectors of the economy to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. The time for meaningful change is now, and it starts with addressing the low-hanging fruit in our efforts to combat climate change.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Climate Crisis

What are the key findings of the Lancet’s Countdown on climate and health report?

The Lancet’s Countdown on climate and health report highlights a significant increase in heat-related deaths, particularly among the elderly population, over the past decade. It projects that these fatalities will continue to rise as global temperatures increase. The report also emphasizes the harms directly attributed to the fossil fuel industry and underscores the immediate and tangible consequences of climate change.

What does the “State of Climate Action” report reveal about the world’s progress in addressing climate change?

The “State of Climate Action” report, issued by the World Resources Institute and others, identifies that the world is off track in 41 out of 42 crucial measurements related to climate action. It highlights the alarming trend of increasing fossil fuel subsidies as one of the key indicators moving in the wrong direction. The report emphasizes the urgent need for decisive action to combat climate change.

How have heat-related deaths among the elderly changed in the United States?

In the United States, heat-related deaths among the elderly have surged by 88% in the last five years compared to the period from 2000 to 2004. Climate change is identified as the primary driver behind this alarming trend, resulting in 23,200 elderly heat-related deaths in 2022.

What is the significance of the fossil fuel subsidies mentioned in these reports?

Both reports draw attention to the substantial subsidies provided to fossil fuel companies. The Lancet report reveals that 68 countries handed out more than $300 billion in subsidies to these companies in 2020. The “State of Climate Action” report highlights that fossil fuel consumption subsidies reached over $1 trillion, driven by global energy price spikes. These subsidies are seen as detrimental to climate action and contribute to the continuation of fossil fuel dependence.

What is the main message conveyed by these reports regarding climate change and health?

These reports emphasize the urgent need to address climate change not only for environmental reasons but also for immediate health benefits. Rising heat-related deaths and the increasing health impacts attributed to climate change underscore the real and tangible consequences of the climate crisis. The reports call for radical decarbonization of various sectors of the economy to limit global warming and mitigate these health-related repercussions.

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3 comments

Reader123 November 18, 2023 - 2:30 pm

Wow, this report’s seriously scary stuff! Heat deaths goin’ up like crazy, and them fossil fuel subsidies ain’t helpin’ either. We gotta do somethin’ now!

Reply
ClimateWarrior November 19, 2023 - 9:52 am

Lancet report and State of Climate Action both sayin’ same thing – climate change’s messin’ up our health and the world. Time to wake up, folks!

Reply
Activist4Change November 19, 2023 - 11:23 am

Fossil fuels = bad news, like tobacco. The numbers don’t lie – we’re in big trouble if we don’t act FAST!

Reply

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