Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated $5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report. The same human activities that are destabilising the Earth’s climate also contribute directly to poor health, said the report released on Wednesday at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.
“The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs. The health burden of polluting energy sources is now so high, that moving to cleaner and more sustainable choices for energy supply, transport and food systems effectively pays for itself,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “When health is taken into account, climate change mitigation is an opportunity, not a cost.”
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