29 November 2009

The Lancet: Public Health Benefits of Strategies To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Mary Vincent - Twitter @MaryVincent

A just-released Study by The Lancet and other notable international organizations says "Climate change already affects human health, and if no action is taken, problems such as malnutrition, deaths and injury due to extreme weather conditions, and change in geographical distribution of disease vectors will worsen."  A Series of Papers on Household Energy, Food and Agriculture, Urban Land Transport, and Low Carbon Electricity Generation is the result of an international collaboration of scientists. The Papers make a strong case for linking climate and health goals, and through suggested strategies and case studies encourage the international and business communities to act now.
A notable mention from the Food and Agriculture Paper suggests that in order for the agricultural sector to meet the target recommended by the UK Committee on Climate Change to reduce UK emissions from the concentrations recorded in 1990 by 80% by 2050, which would require a 50% reduction by 2030, they identified that a 30% reduction in livestock production would be needed to meet this target. In addition, the potential benefits of reduced consumption of livestock products on the burden of ischaemic heart disease shows the disease burden would decrease by about 15% in the UK. See the full Food and Agriculture Paper here.
Image Credit: The Lancet (Full Size Lancet Food, Agriculture, and Health Diagram is here)