09/14/2011 12:45 pm ET Updated Nov 14, 2011

Global Warming = Global Health Threat


According to Mark Hertsgaard, author of Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, The Lancet, the 188-year-old medical journal (widely considered to be the world's best), called climate change "the number-one threat to global public health in the twenty-first century." Not next century, not some vague future century yet to be determined, but this century. In his book, Hertsgaard combines the Lancet's assessment with that of other august bodies to form a less-than-rosy picture.

Hertsgaard points out that in 2002 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that climate change was already killing 150,000 people per year. However, he asserts that that estimate was based on a relative few climate-change-related causes. The estimate did not look at deaths that resulted from factors like heat waves and fatal diseases that are almost certain to increase as our climate continues to warm. Hertsgaard also writes that the WHO has said that warmer climates have allowed pests to expand their ranges, resulting in the biggest number of new or resurgent diseases since the industrial revolution began.

One could say that the medical community finds climate change sickening! I concur.

For more information on the effect of climate change on health, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.