The health of more than 12 million people in the UK is under threat due to the impacts of climate change, according to a new report published by the Climate Coalition and The Priestley International Centre for Climate.
The report finds that approximately 1.8 million people in the UK are living in areas that have a significantly high risk of flooding.
Globally, the damaging impacts of the climate crisis are increasing and in the UK flooding is one of the biggest threats.
As well as the immediate risk of death and injury, floods are also deeply traumatic for those affected.
Almost 1 in 3 people have reported suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after having their house flooded.
The report also finds that just under 12 million people in the UK are also dangerously vulnerable to future summer heatwaves, particularly the elderly or people with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
The report from the Climate Coalition, whose members include National Trust, WWF, Women’s Institute, Oxfam and RSPB, says the severe health issues related to the climate and nature crisis are a reminder of the need to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reach a zero-carbon economy.
The report highlights that tackling climate change will bring co-benefits for our health including cleaner air, improved wellbeing, and a reduction in the pressure being placed on the NHS.
Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: ‘Our mental and physical health are clearly linked to the health of the one place we all call home: our planet. Yet right now, nature – our life support system – is in freefall, and the climate crisis is making blazing heatwaves and major flood events more frequent and more likely.
‘To show true global leadership at this year’s climate summit, the UK Government must take more ambitious steps to reach our net-zero targets and put nature on the path to recovery.’
Clara Goldsmith, Campaigns Director at The Climate Coalition added: ‘Failure to with speed and scale to address the climate and ecological crises will spell disaster not only for our natural world but for public health. Governments must urgently recognise the threat posed by climate change and set the recovery on a green pathway that enshrines planetary and public health above all else.’
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