Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Health Impacts from Climate Change – a Canadian Perspective

MEC's green roof among others
Image by 416style via Flickr

Climate Warming Impacts Health (Canadian Geographic, Oct. 2010)

Key Quotes:

“climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” [Lancet, 2009]

“The alert, sent out by the Extreme Heat Wave Portal to public health and emergency officials across Quebec, was generated by software developed by Gosselin’s team. It compiles real-time data on air pollution, emergency room visits, calls to the province’s Info-Santé health hotline, ambulance traffic and weather forecasts, all mapped onto Google Earth”

“between 2010 and 2100, rising summer temperatures are expected to kill 15,330 to 27,150 Montrealers and cost up to $124 billion nationally in added health expenditures and lost productivity.”

“Warmer weather will mean more cases of heatstroke and medical conditions aggravated by hot spells. It will also lead to more smog in urban centres, which is associated with respiratory and heart disease. Other health impacts of climate change include increases in water-borne pathogens such as E. coli and illnesses such as malaria and Lyme disease, which is expected to spread northward by 1,000 kilometres as of 2080”

“To reverse this effect and curtail rising temperatures, urban planners are encouraging rooftop gardens, whitepainted roofs, public transit, tree planting and green spaces. The City of Toronto has promoted “green roofs” (roofs covered with vegetation instead of tar or shingles) as a way to reduce the urban heat island effect

“There is a correlation between the warmth of a city and the ozone and fine particle matter that cause heart disease. This is the principal challenge of the 21st and 22nd centuries — we are literally poisoning our habitat.”

“Ottawa has yet to take the lead in crafting a coordinated national approach and in underwriting adaptation measures, such as reducing smog-causing emission”

“measures to curb smog would save up to 265 lives annually in Toronto by 2050 and result in up to $2.50 in health and productivity savings for each dollar spent.”


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