We’ve published a report: The Effects of Climate Change on Health in the UK, in collaboration with the Longevity Science Panel demonstrating that the poorest and most vulnerable people will be most impacted by extreme weather.
The potential adverse effects of climate change would be experienced unevenly across different sections of the UK population, deepening the existing health inequalities. The risks are greatest for those already most vulnerable to poor health, particularly those that rely on others for care such as children, the elderly, and those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions.
Our research shows that greater focus is needed on climate policy development to protect vulnerable people from indirect health implications of climate change. For example, mental health challenges arising from displacement after a flood may cause those impacted to reach out to public health services.
The need for the costliest mitigations and adaptations related to climate change are concentrated in the most deprived areas whose residents are the least able to afford them. These need to be considered in public policies.
Looking ahead, reaching net zero depends on emerging technology and systemic change, as well as continued public support for measures that threaten jobs, economic growth, and established ways of living.
We have recently formed a partnership with leading epidemiologist Professor Sir Michael Marmot to tackle health inequalities. We have been working with Sir Michael and his team at UCL to identify how business leaders might positively impact health outcomes and make good health available to all.
Collaboration between academics, business, Government, and communities will be needed to meet these challenges on health inequality.
There is overwhelming evidence that man-made changes in the climate are having an impact on the natural environment and on human populations. The question is what are going to be the effects on health? In the UK, although warmer winters may reduce levels of cold-related deaths, heat waves will bring other problems.