LEARN MOREThe WIRED Guide to Climate Change The collective implications are ugly: A child born today, the authors note, could live in a world that’s 4 degrees warmer than in preindustrial times. “We have no idea what that looks like from a public health perspective, but we know it is catastrophic,” said Nick Watts, executive director of Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, during a press conference announcing the findings. “We know that it has the potential to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health and overwhelm the health systems we rely on.”
It’s not too late to reverse some of these trends or dodge the worst outcomes. “The challenge we face now is how to make it personal —how do we make people understand that it's about them, and they can do something,” said former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, now director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard. “I want them to know that climate change isn't a lost cause. I want them to know that they can demand policymakers to take specific actions that will not just reduce the threat of climate change, but be opportunities for clear, immediate investment in public health today.”
By making their predictions and analyses public, companies can also learn from each other about how to become more resilient in the face of climate threats.“Climate change is right now a very much under-priced risk in financial disclosures,” says Sarda, who believes both companies and investors need to prioritize climate-related accounting more.
Understand the problem, and we can better see the solutions. Below are nine key graphs from the new Lancet report that best capture the crisis and what it means for the collective health of humanity.Scorched by Heat WavesClimate change is making heat waves more extreme . This has been particularly apparent in Europe, where multiple countries set temperature records this past summer. These events are particularly dangerous for the elderly, who often live alone in apartments that until recent years didn’t need air-conditioning, but that now easily overheat. A heat wave “exposure event” in this graph is one heat wave experienced by one person over 65. In 2018 there were 220 million heat wave exposures globally, which broke the previous record of 209 million in 2015.