‘2014 was Earth’s warmest year ’

earthHuman activities jeopardizing planet’s natural systems, health of future generations

Scientists have confirmed that 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record and climate markers continue to show global warming trend even as they have provided evidence showing how the health and well-being of future generations is being jeopardized by the unprecedented degradation of the planet’s natural resources and ecological systems.

According to the State of the Climate in 2014 report released online, Tuesday, by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), in 2014, the most essential indicators of Earth’s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet, with several markers such as rising land and ocean temperature, sea levels and greenhouse gases- setting new records.

The State of the Climate in 2014 is the 25th edition in a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report openly available online.

The study is titled “International report confirms: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record: Climate markers continue to show global warming trend.”

The report, compiled by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA’s) Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from 413 scientists from 58 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.

Also, a new report released by The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, has called for immediate, global action to protect the health of human civilization and the natural systems on which it depends.

The report, Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch, provides the first ever-comprehensive examination of evidence showing how the health and well-being of future generations is being jeopardised by the unprecedented degradation of the planet’s natural resources and ecological systems.

The report was written by a Commission of 15 leading academics and policymakers from institutions in eight countries, and was chaired by Professor Sir Andy Haines of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK. It demonstrates how human activity and development have pushed to near breaking point the boundaries of the natural systems that support and sustain human civilizations.

The Commission warns that a rising population, unsustainable consumption and the over-use of natural resources will exacerbate these health challenges in the future. The world’s poorest communities will be among those at greatest risk, as they live in areas that are most strongly affected and have greater sensitivity to disease and poor health.

Concerns that global environmental change represents a growing threat to human health are underlined by two new research articles being published in conjunction with the report.

One article, published in The Lancet, quantifies for the first time the human health implications of declines in animal pollinators (such as bees and other insects). The study, led by one of the report Commissioners, Dr. Samuel Myers, from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, USA, shows that global declines in animal pollinators could lead to up to 1.4 million excess deaths annually (an increase in global mortality of 2.7 per cent) from a combination of increased vitamin A and folate deficiency and increased incidence of non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. The research shows that these health effects would be experienced in both developed and developing countries.

The second study, also led by Dr Myers, and published in The Lancet Global Health, quantifies for the first time a major global health threat associated with anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The study shows that reductions in the zinc content of important food crops as a response to rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will place between 132-180 million people at new risk for zinc deficiency globally by around 2050.

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