Health benefits of Paris climate goals could save millions of lives by 2040

Dr Alice McGushin, Dr Harry Kennard, World Economy Forum|

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Climate change has been described by WHO as this century's biggest threat to human health. More ambitious climate change policies, which align with the Paris agreement, will help to save the planet and also reduce death rates. Studies show that a significant number of deaths can be avoided if we reduce air pollution, adopt cleaner diets and engage in more physical activity. These lifestyle changes involve more sustainable practises and will help heal the planet, as well as humans. Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and the US – represent more than 70% of global emissions and 50% of the global population. Across these countries, we estimate that increasing ambition to be consistent with the Paris Agreement could result in an annual reduction of 1.18 million deaths due to air pollution, 5.86 million deaths due to diet-related risk factors, and 1.15 million deaths due to physical inactivity by 2040.


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