Climate change and human health: impacts, vulnerability, and mitigation

Lancet. 2006 Jun 24;367(9528):2101-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68933-2.


It is now widely accepted that climate change is occurring as a result of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere arising from the combustion of fossil fuels. Climate change may affect health through a range of pathways--eg, as a result of increased frequency and intensity of heat waves, reduction in cold-related deaths, increased floods and droughts, changes in the distribution of vector-borne diseases, and effects on the risk of disasters and malnutrition. The overall balance of effects on health is likely to be negative and populations in low-income countries are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects. The experience of the 2003 heat wave in Europe shows that high-income countries might also be adversely affected. Adaptation to climate change requires public-health strategies and improved surveillance. Mitigation of climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of a number of renewable energy technologies should improve health in the near term by reducing exposure to air pollution.

Publication types

  • Lecture

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Climate*
  • Communicable Diseases / etiology*
  • Disasters*
  • Humans
  • Mortality*
  • Public Health / trends*
  • Socioeconomic Factors