Sun, Nov 17, 2019 - Page 9 News List

Climate change exposes future generations to life-long health harm
氣候變遷持續惡化 下一代深陷終生健康危害

A protester holds a placard in front of India Gate in India’s New Delhi on Nov. 5 during a protest to demand that the government takes immediate steps to control air pollution.
在印度新德里一場要求政府立即採取措施控制空氣污染的遊行中,一名抗議民眾在印度門前高舉標語,攝於十一月五日。

Photo: Reuters
照片:路透

A child born today faces multiple and life-long health harms from climate change, growing up in a warmer world with risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods and extreme heat, a major global study has found.

Climate change is already harming people’s health by increasing the number of extreme weather events and exacerbating air pollution, according to the study published in The Lancet medical journal. And if nothing is done to mitigate it, its impacts could burden an entire generation with disease and illness throughout their lives.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate. Their bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants,” said Nick Watts, who co-led the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change study.

He warned that health damage in early childhood is “persistent and pervasive,” and carries lifelong consequences. “Without immediate action from all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, gains in wellbeing and life expectancy will be compromised, and climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation,” he told a London briefing.

Yet introducing policies to limit emissions and cap global warming would see a different outcome, the research teams said. In that scenario, a child born today, would see an end to coal use in Britain, for example, by their sixth birthday, and the world reaching net-zero emissions by the time they were 31.

The Lancet study is a collaboration by 120 experts from 35 institutions including the WHO, the World Bank, University College London and China’s Tsinghua University.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. exacerbate v.

惡化

(e4 hua4)

2. mitigate v.

緩和

(huan3 he2)

3. susceptible adj.

容易受影響

(rong2 yi4 shou4 ying2 xiang3)

4. cap v.

加蓋、限制

(jia1 gai4, xian4 zhi4)

5. net zero emissions phr.

淨零碳排放

(jing4 ling2 tan4 pai2 fang4)

6. business-as-usual phr.

一切照常進行、一切照舊

(yi2 qie4 zhao4 chang2 jin4 xing2, yi2 qie4 zhao4 jiu4)


On a “business-as-usual” pathway, with little action to limit climate change, it found that amid rising temperatures and extreme weather events, children would be vulnerable to malnutrition and rising food prices, and the most likely to suffer from warmer waters and climates accelerating the spread of infectious diseases such as dengue fever and cholera.

Among the most immediate and long-lasting health threats from climate change is air pollution, the researchers said. They called for urgent action to reduce outdoor and indoor pollution through the introduction of cleaner fuels and vehicles, and policies to encourage safe and active transport such as walking and cycling.

The WHO says that globally in 2016, seven million deaths were due to the effects of household and ambient air pollution. The vast majority of these were in low and middle-income countries. “If we want to protect our children, we need to make sure the air they breathe isn’t toxic,” said Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, a global health specialist at Britain’s Sussex University who worked on the Lancet study.

(Reuters)

一項大型全球研究發現,今日出生的孩童,面臨著氣候變遷帶來多項終生的健康危害──他們在暖化的世界長大,伴隨著糧食短缺、傳染性疾病、洪水,以及極端高溫等風險。

根據這份發表於醫學期刊《刺胳針》的研究指出,氣候變遷造成極端天氣事件不斷增加,空氣汙染持續惡化,早已開始傷害人類健康。而且,如果不採取任何行動來緩和情況,氣候變遷的影響將帶來疾病和病痛,加重一整個世代終生的負擔。

《刺胳針健康與氣候變遷倒數計時》的研究共同主持人尼克‧沃茲指出:「孩童面對變遷氣候的健康風險特別脆弱。小孩的身體和免疫系統仍然在發展階段,使得他們更容易受到疾病和環境污染物影響。」

沃茲警告,在童年早期受到的健康損害是「持續且全面的」,而且會帶來影響終生的後果。他在倫敦的一場簡報中表示:「如果世界各國沒有採取立即行動,減少溫室氣體排放,人類福祉和平均餘命的增加將會受到威脅,而氣候變遷更會定義整個世代的健康。」

不過,研究團隊表示,推出政策限制氣體排放,並控制全球暖化程度,則會出現不同的結果。在那樣的情況下,舉例而言,今天出生的孩童會在六歲生日那天看到英國停止使用燃煤,並在三十一歲時看到全球達成淨零碳排放的目標。

《刺胳針》這項研究是一百二十位專家的合作成果,他們來自三十五個機構,其中包括世界衛生組織、世界銀行、倫敦大學學院,以及中國的清華大學。

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