The air pollution from burning fossil fuels and biomass kills 1.2 million people a year, and the fossil fuel industry’s relentless pursuit of profits without regard for human costs is to blame, the newest Lancet Countdown, released Tuesday, concludes. The report, authored by nearly 100 medical doctors from more than 50 collaborating organizations, said the world’s “fossil fuel addiction” and the climate change it causes hurts public health.
“The burning of fossil fuels is creating a health crisis that I can’t fix by the time I see patients in my emergency department,” said Dr. Renee Salas, an ER physician at Mass. General and Harvard medical school professor. “Fossil fuel companies are making record profits while my patients suffer from their downstream health harms.”
The Lancet report coincides with a separate UNICEF report, also released Tuesday, finding virtually every child in every part of the globe will face more frequent heatwaves by 2050, increasing the risk of death, disease, hunger, and forced migration. “Unless world leaders at COP27 take action to correct the course we are on,” climate activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Nakate told reporters, “heatwaves will become even harsher than they are already destined to be.”(Lancet: NBC, AP, Barron’s, The Guardian, USA Today, ABC, Politico Pro $, The Verge; UNICEF: CBS, The Guardian, Washington Post $)