News from ISGlobal
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the existence of climate change is unequivocal. The Earth's temperature has been increasing over recent decades and 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is influencing the climate system. The effects of climate change in Catalonia is the subject of the recently published Third Report on Climate Change in Catalonia, the result of contributions from over 140 authors working in Catalan universities and research centres. In their contribution to this report, a group of ISGlobal researchers compiled the scientific evidence on the health effects associated with the changes in our climate.
Climate change can affect health in many different ways: directly (through variations in temperatures) and indirectly (by way of changes in the food supply or ecosystems, for example). In the chapter on health, they review the latest scientific evidence relating to Catalonia and include projections to illustrate the expected health effects of the climate conditions forecast for coming decades.
Heat is one of the most widely studied health hazards associated with climate change: heat waves cause increases of more than 20% in deaths and hospitalizations, particularly in older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. They estimate that more than 300 deaths a year in Catalonia are attributable to high temperatures. According to their calculations mortality for this reason in Catalonia could increase eightfold by 2050, bringing the number of heat-related deaths in the summer months to over 2,500 a year. This model does not, however, take into account the effects of a possible adaptive response to the new situation on the part of the population