The following is an excerpt from Ricardo Lagos | October 9, 2018 | Newsweek.com |
Climate change poses a catastrophic threat to our planet's biodiversity, to the integrity of our economic system, and even to the very values on which our shared humanity is built.
As the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows, this threat is very real, and we are losing the battle to keep temperature increases close to the Paris Climate Agreement target of 1.5°c.
As Elders, the group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights, we believe this is not a challenge that can be left to climate scientists and environmental advocates—it is a battle that must be joined by all those with an interest in our future survival. The question of our long-term existence on this planet depends on it. Climate change threatens the huge amount of progress made on health and development in the past half century; it threatens to reverse the gains made through the Millennium Development Goals; and it threatens to undermine all and any efforts to achieve the SDGs—health related or otherwise.
But this is not just a concern for the future. The impact of climate change on the health of humanity is happening now, today. The force of Hurricane Florence and Super Typhoon Mangkhut; the heatwaves we have seen these past few months in California and across the northern hemisphere—these represent the new normal. They are more extreme, last longer and reach further because of climate change.
These are not just isolated incidents. The long-term trend shows more and more people are being exposed to heatwaves as the Earth’s climate changes. In 2016, over 150 million people were exposed to life-threatening heatwave conditions, and the threat is particularly acute for the young, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
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