The worrying health costs of environmental change

Shaukat Aziz was Prime Minister of Pakistan from 2004 to 2007. (Photo via Asiasociety.org)

In recent years, the world has become increasingly preoccupied with the catastrophic potential of global warming and other human-induced environmental changes, and rightly so. But one of the most serious risks has been all but ignored: the threat to human health.

To be sure, concerns about what a rise in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels could mean for the planet are entirely justified. And many are understandably perturbed that the world's poorest suffer disproportionately, while the United States, the planet's second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, seems to be shirking its responsibilities.

But the health implications of human-induced environmental change are largely being overlooked, while future generations' quality of life is being mortgaged for economic gain. Nowhere are these implications more visible than in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

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