Contributors

Climate Action Network Canada

Climate Action Network Canada is a coalition of more than 100 organizations across the country. We care about how a changing climate affects people, plants, and wildlife.

We believe it is reckless not to invest now to keep our families and communities safe, especially when the solutions to climate change are affordable and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

We work together every day to advance practical policies and front-line solutions to manage our carbon pollution and address the front-line impacts of climate change, through sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Climate Action Network Canada is the only network in the country that brings labour, development, faith-based, and Indigenous groups together with the key national, provincial, and territorial environmental organizations working on climate change. The network plays a critical role in helping Canadian organizations understand and respond to climate change impacts and policies, across Canada and around the world, to coordinate efforts for greatest impact.

Climate Action Network Canada is unique in the Canadian climate movement because it is the only organization with a mandate to promote the climate movement as a whole, rather than the interests and programs of any one organization. Across the entire global community represented by Climate Action Network International, CAN-Rac Canada is the only national body that brings climate, energy, and environmental organizations together with the many communities of interest that are affected by climate impacts, and can have a hand in building climate solutions.

Climate Action Network Canada

Climate Action Network International

The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 countries, working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

Climate Action Network members work to achieve this goal through information exchange and the coordinated development of NGO strategy on international, regional, and national climate issues. CAN has regional network hubs that coordinate these efforts around the world.

Members place a high priority on both a healthy environment and development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Climate Action Network’s vision is to protect the atmosphere while allowing for sustainable and equitable development worldwide.

Climate Action Network International

World Health Organization

Climate change and health

  • Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
  • Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.
  • The direct damage costs to health, excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation, is estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion/year by 2030.
  • Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.
  • Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution.

Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate.

Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and precipitation patterns are changing. Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent.

Although global warming may bring some localized benefits, such as fewer winter deaths in temperate climates and increased food production in certain areas, the overall health effects of a changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly negative. Climate change affects social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

What we are doing

Many policies and individual choices have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce major health co-benefits. For example, cleaner energy systems, and promoting the safe use of public transportation and active movement – such as cycling or walking as alternatives to using private vehicles – could reduce carbon emissions, and cut the burden of household air pollution, which causes some 4.3 million deaths per year, and ambient air pollution, which causes about 3 million deaths every year.
In 2015, the WHO Executive Board endorsed a new work plan on climate change and health. This includes:

  • Partnerships: to coordinate with partner agencies within the UN system, and ensure that health is properly represented in the climate change agenda.
  • Awareness raising: to provide and disseminate information on the threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions.
  • Science and evidence: to coordinate reviews of the scientific evidence on the links between climate change and health, and develop a global research agenda.
  • Support for implementation of the public health response to climate change: to assist countries to build capacity to reduce health vulnerability to climate change, and promote health while reducing carbon emissions.

World Health Organization

The Importance of the Ocean and Cryosphere for People

All people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean and cryosphere. The global ocean covers 71% of the Earth surface and contains about 97% of the Earth’s water. The cryosphere refers to frozen components of the Earth system1. Around 10% of Earth’s land area is covered by glaciers or ice sheets. The ocean and cryosphere support unique habitats, and are interconnected with other components of the climate system through global exchange of water, energy and carbon. The projected responses of the ocean and cryosphere to past and current human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and ongoing global warming include climate feedbacks, changes over decades to millennia that cannot be avoided, thresholds of abrupt change, and irreversibility.

Human communities in close connection with coastal environments, small islands, including Small Island Developing States, polar areas, and high mountains are particularly exposed to ocean and cryosphere change, such as sea level rise, extreme sea level and shrinking cryosphere. Other communities further from the coast are also exposed to changes in the ocean, such as through extreme weather events. Today, around 4 million people live permanently in the Arctic region, of whom 10% are Indigenous. The low-lying coastal zone is currently home to around 680 million people, nearly 10% of the 2010 global population, projected to reach more than one billion by 2050. Small Island Developing States are home to 65 million people. Around 670 million people, nearly 10% of the 2010 global population including Indigenous peoples, live in high mountain regions in all continents except Antarctica. In high mountain regions, population is projected to reach between 740 and 840 million by 2050, about 8.4 to 8.7% of the projected global population.

In addition to their role within the climate system, such as the uptake and redistribution of natural and anthropogenic carbon dioxide and heat, as well as ecosystem support, services provided to people by the ocean and/or cryosphere include food and water supply, renewable energy, and benefits for health and well-being, cultural values, tourism, trade, and transport. The state of the ocean and cryosphere interacts with each aspect of sustainability reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
Summary for Policymakers
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Restoring Our Oceans