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Climate Change Reverses Benefits by 50 Years, Warns study

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar briefing the press on the meeting of the Environment Ministers of National Capital Region, (NCR), in New Delhi on April 13, 2015.(PIB)

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar briefing the press on the meeting of the Environment Ministers of National Capital Region, (NCR), in New Delhi on April 13, 2015.(PIB)

Climate change can potentially reverse the benefits of about 50 years of progress in development and global health, said a study published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Among the risks listed in the report included disease, food insecurity and air pollution, which collectively pose a catastrophic risk to human health. The counter-effect research shows the cascading effect on technology and investment in public infrastructure and medical treatment over the last half-century.

A panel of researchers at University College London (UCL) said the intense variation in weather will increase enormously resulting in more number of people exposed to extreme rainfall and droughts, almost 3 to 4 times higher than it was in the 1990s, said the study.

Lancet panel draws attention to it as a public health problem, shortening human lives considerably. The study, inspired by Pope Francis appeal recently that the environmental consequences of climate change on the poor.

The resultant climate change effects such as heat waves, floods, droughts and storms would leave a lasting effect on infectious disease patterns, pollution, malnutrition, mass migrations, and conflicts, it noted.

The report warned that the non-implementation of changes and lack of unity to address these issues by the political leadership.

“In essence, whether we respond to the biggest global health threat of the 21st century is no longer a technical or economic question, it is political,” said the report.

The report has come at a time when the world is divided between the developed and developing nations over who should foot the bill for the Green Fund contributions. The Paris Conference, scheduled in December, is likely to address the problem and the report may be tabled for consideration among others for the political leadership, which is divided.

India, espousing the developing world cause, said the developed nations should pay for their past negligence of nature and pay Green Fund dues before the Paris Conference as per the differentiated treatment clause.

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