Climate change: the impact on health already visible, according to the INSPQ

Climate change: the impact on health is already visible, according to the INSPQ

The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) notes that climate change is already having visible negative impacts on health. Indeed, the rise in temperatures would have caused more heat waves, more deaths linked to natural disasters and more cases of respiratory diseases.

The INSPQ details this finding in the report La Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing Our Knowledge for Action, released by Health Canada today.In addition to including new information on Indigenous health, health equity, health system resilience, and mental health, this report presents the most up-to-date science on the threats climate change poses to population health and Canadian health systems.

“The health impacts of climate change impose a significant economic burden on citizens and institutions. This burden, estimated at several tens of billions of dollars per year, will continue to increase if our governments’re not effectively adapted,” said Céline Campagna, settlement researcher at the INSPQ and co-author of the report.

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According to the researcher, we must “intensify efforts to prevent potential health effects, while allowing health systems and institutions to increase their resilience to climate change”. Without these efforts, climate change would lead to other problems such as increased illness and death.

What solutions?

According to David Demers-Bouffard, co-author of the Health Canada report, there are several solutions to improve the health of the most disadvantaged populations in the context of climate change. In particular, he would like to see more greening and better protection of water sources.

“Provinces, municipalities and various health organizations have begun to implement adaptation measures. But concrete actions are lagging behind, while the risks continue to increase. The greater the warming, the greater the threats to health,” warns Dr. Pierre Gosselin, recently retired INSPQ medical consultant and co-author of the report.

“Combined with a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, these actions will help us meet the great challenges of the 21st century, which are the fight against climate change and the reduction of social inequalities,” the report concludes.

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