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Al Jaber: climate change health risks need more investment

Climate health risks PMI Impact Malaria
A child receives malaria treatment in Sierra Leone. According to WHO diseases like malaria are spreading because of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns
  • Cop28 will make health a ‘specific focus’
  • Climate-related health crises could reach $4bn by 2030
  • Al Jaber said it must ‘mobilise investment’

Cop28 participating nations must increase financing to identify and mitigate climate change’s risks to human health, the summit’s president designate Sultan Al Jaber has said.

“The connection between health and climate change is evident, yet it has not been a specific focus of the Cop process – until now,” Al Jaber told the UN General Assembly in New York this week. 

The upcoming Cop28 will include the first-ever “health day” to discuss the health risks of climate change, and Al Jaber said the event must seek to “mobilise investment for equitable, climate-resilient health systems”. 

The financial cost of health crises attributed to climate change is estimated to reach between $2 billion and $4 billion annually by 2030, according to World Bank data.

It said that almost 40 percent of climate-related poverty will result from the direct health impacts of climate change, including productivity, income and health expenses. 

Al Jaber called on financial institutions and development banks to prioritise climate-health investments and for nations to increase concessional funds to less developed countries.  

He cited World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2021 showing that air pollution leads to seven million excess deaths each year globally, and that vector-borne diseases such as malaria are spreading due to rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. 

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause around 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, diarrhoea and heat stress, according to WHO.