地球温暖化が貧困層の健康を直撃する

画像 地球温暖化が貧困層の健康を直撃する
 ブッシュ政権は、連邦裁判所命令により、人由来の地球温暖化の与える巨大で多くは有害な影響に関する研究の最新の要約を発表した。気候研究のための政府の優先事項のアップデートとともにオンラインで報告された。
 温暖化による害虫の蔓延や海面上昇による必然的な領土喪失は以前から言われていて新しいことではない。しかし、貧困層や高齢者、遅れた公衆衛生システムや公的作業システムが、温暖化により膨大な健康リスクに直面するだろうとする新たな視点が示された。
 1990年の法律により、大統領は、気候変動などのグローバルな環境問題の米国への影響について知られているものを要約して、4年ごとにリポートを議会に提出しなければならない。
 2000年のアセスメントでは、温室効果ガスの削減に反対するグループや企業により攻撃され、いくつかのリファレンスは削除された。
 最新の研究を完成させるように環境保護団体が訴え、5月末までに包括的な評価報告を発表するようにと連邦裁判所が判定していた。
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White House: Poor Face Health Risks From Warming
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/white-house-poor-face-health-risks-from-warming/index.html?ref=health
By Andrew C. Revkin
画像A man and dog take a water break on a 97-degree day in Philadelphia in 2006. (Credit: Mike Mergen for The New York Times)

The Bush administration, bowing to a court order, released a fresh summary of federal and independent research pointing to large, and mainly harmful, impacts in the United States from human-caused global warming. The report is online at climatescience.gov, along with a new report updating the administration’s priorities for climate research.

Most of the findings, ranging from the spread of warmth-loving pests to the inevitable loss of low-lying lands to rising seas, are not new. But the report included new projections of how the poor, elderly, and communities with lagging public health and public-works systems will face outsize health risks from warming.

Under a 1990 law, presidents must submit a report to Congress every four years summarizing what is known about impacts of climate change and other global environmental problems on the United States. The last such assessment, undertaken during the Clinton administration and published in 2000 in the early days of the Bush presidency, was attacked by groups and industries opposing restrictions on greenhouse gases. References to it were deleted from some government reports by political appointees in the White House.

Environmental groups sued to force the completion of a new study. In court, the White House contended that a series of more than 20 studies requested by Mr. Bush in 2003 satisfied the 1990 law, but Federal District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong rejected that assertion and said a comprehensive assessment had to be published by the end of May.

Among the reports new conclusions on health: “An increased frequency and severity of heat waves is expected, leading to more illness and death, particularly among the young, elderly, frail, and poor.” It added that deaths from cold would decline, but said uncertainties on both projections made it impossible to characterize the overall risk.

It gave high odds (essentially a two out of three chance) that Lyme disease and West Nile virus would likely have expanded ranges due to warming.

The report gave the same odds that some food- and water-borne diseases will also increase among susceptible populations, but said “major human epidemics” were unlikely as long as public-health systems remained effective.

“This assessment is an example of what federal scientists can and should be doing when they are freed from political interference and allowed to actually do their jobs,” said Kassie Siegel, climate program director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was lead author of the 1990 law, strongly criticized the White House.

“The three-year delay of this report is sadly fitting for an administration that has wasted seven years denying the real threat of global climate change,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement. “In these lost years, we could have slowed global warming and advanced clean energy solutions, but instead America’s climate change strategy has been at best rhetorical, not real.”

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U.S. Climate Change Science Program
http://www.climatescience.gov/

Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States
http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/scientific-assessment/Scientific-AssessmentFINAL.pdf

Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United StatesSUMMARY AND FINDINGS
Health
Climate variability and change can affect health through the effects of temperature changes on the body. Climate change can also make it possible for animal-, water-, and food-borne diseases to spread or emerge in areas where they had been limited or had not existed, or it can make it possible for such diseases to disappear by making areas less hospitable to the disease carrier or pathogen:
An increased frequency and severity of heat waves is expected, leading to more illness and death, particularly among the young, elderly, frail, and poor.
Increases in extreme weather (e.g., storms, flooding) and accompanying events (e.g., wildfire resulting from prolonged drought) may lead to increases in deaths, injuries, infectious diseases, interruptions of medical care for chronic disease treatment, and stress-related disorders and other adverse effects associated with social disruption and migration.

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