Is climate change making the British sick?
by Alan Harten
February 4, 2008
In Britain, the weather is an endless topic of conversation, so some Britons think that a little global warming may not be such a bad thing, giving us some long hot summers, and mild, pleasant winters.
But global warming may be bringing some unpleasant side-effects to the people of the UK. Just this week in Yorkshire, global warming has resulted in homes filled with muddy water, and this unpleasant flooding may be just the beginning of many more problems to come.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) a highly respected professional’s publication indicated that global warming and climate change, could pose serious health risks, especially in the so-called developing world.
It also indicated that research may suggest, that these health risks could also affect the people of Britain. A conference in London tomorrow is likely to be told that climate change will dramatically increase instances of diarrhoea, cardio-respiratory diseases, and even ‘tropical’ diseases such as malaria.
On average, worldwide surface temperatures have already risen dramatically, and it is predicted that in the not too distant future, may rise between 1.5 centigrade and 6.0 centigrade, bringing with it huge increases in natural disasters such as floods, heat waves and drought.
Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London, Dr Hugh Montgomery, organiser of the Royal College of physician’s conference stated that: “We are already witnessing the effects of climate change on health,”
Back in 2003, a record heat wave, caused temperatures across the northern hemisphere to climb to the highest since record-keeping began, killing over thirty five thousand people, more than 2000 of those were in the UK
There are other threats, it is thought that the cattle disease called bluetongue, that has now been found in Europe, is caused by insects only found normally in hotter regions of the world.
Dr Montgomery says: “Each of us is, in effect, moving 6km (4 miles) south a year or 60km a decade,” and that. “The result will be fewer deaths from colds and flu, but more from strokes and heart attacks because of the heat. Global warming means a higher baseline temperature from which there will be more surges and extreme events.”
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