Climate, Health and Equity Brief
Suicide Rates, Brain Cancer, and Kids’ Futures
November 15, 2019
Hot Topic: Evidence. Venice captured global headlines this week as surging sea waters inundated the historic city, flooding major tourist destinations and causing hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of damage. In one ironic twist to the tragedy, the Regional Council of Veneto flooded for the first time in its history just moments after it rejected several key measures to combat climate change.
Garnering less attention this week were several striking studies on the toll climate change is taking on human health. One finds a correlation between rising temperatures and suicide rates, even among those already accustomed to hot weather. A second links air pollution and the risk of brain cancer for the first time. And a third sounds the alarm that children born today face a future in which their health will be negatively affected at every single stage of their life by a changing climate.
Finally, financial experts are speaking out. the Federal Reserve warned that climate change has the power to destroy wealth, exacerbate income inequality, displace communities permanently, cause price and market instability and jeopardize the soundness of the entire U.S. banking system. And the traditionally climate change-doubting U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued a stunning about-face, calling for the U.S. to stay in the Paris Agreement—and stating that climate inaction is “not an option.” President Trump, are you listening?
—Matt & Traci, GMMB
Hot temperatures increase mental health-related hospital visits and suicide rates even among populations accustomed to high temperatures, according to a new study. (Medical News Today)
A new report finds that globally, children born today will be “affected at every single stage of their lives” by the increasingly devastating health impacts of climate change. (Vox)
Newly released research links ultra-fine air pollution particles with a significant increase in brain cancer risk and other neurological effects, including dementia. (The Guardian)
High tides and heavy rains resulted in the second-highest water levels in Venice’s recorded history this week, leaving half the city and many of its historical treasures under water. (SF Gate)
Politics & Economy
Economists at the Federal Reserve have sounded the alarm that climate change poses significant risks to the U.S. economy, including destruction of wealth, exacerbated income inequality and disruptions to the U.S. payment system. (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reversed its position on climate change, updating its website to say now supports U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement and labeling inaction “simply not an option.” (Grist)
Along Venice’s Grand Canal, the Regional Council of Veneto flooded for the first time in history moments after it’ members rejected several key measures to combat climate change. (CNN)
Small farmers throughout California are battling unpredictable weather patternsand shifting the crops they plant to protect their livelihoods from extreme weather and natural disasters. (The New Food Economy)
Crops in South Africa that provide the country with vital export earnings are under threat from impending climate effects, including increased temperatures and inconsistent rainfall patterns. (The Conversation)
Italy will be the first country to mandate a class on climate change across all public schools next year, following an announcement from the government Education Ministry. (The Washington Post)
Japanese officials announced a $2.7 billion green energy project that will convert abandoned areas after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima into a renewable energy hub. (Gizmodo)
Bay Area readers are invited to join the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) for a conversation about Climate and Health in California on November 21 in San Francisco. Register here.
“Venice is on its knees…we are not just talking about calculating the damages, but of the very future of the city.”
–Luigi Brugnaro, Mayor of Venice
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