Socially, politically and economically mediated health effects of climate change: Possible consequences for Africa

Devin C Bowles, Colin BUTLER

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, climate change looms as a profound health challenge in this century. Socially, politically and economically mediated ('tertiary') effects will probably be the most significant consequences of climate change, substantially exceeding the probable burden of its direct effects and infectious diseases. Climate change will decrease crop yields in many low-latitude areas, decreasing food security in many countries, including those in Africa. Under-nutrition will worsen, aggravated by diminished economic growth - one of the most widely predicted consequences of climate change. Furthermore, migration will increase, which will stretch and could even overwhelm health systems in destination areas, in addition to sapping donor locations of the financial and human capital they could use for further development. Mass migration heightens the risk of conflict, as does resource scarcity caused by climate change. Consequently, the capacity of states to meet the expectations of their citizens and impose law and order could further decrease, incentivising unscrupulous leaders to initiate or sustain conflict to enhance their support base. In summary, health systems on the African continent will be severely challenged by the increased demands caused by climate change, while their capacity will be diminished by its direct effects, reduced economic growth, additional migration and conflict. Adaptation is frequently treated as the best climate change response, but it is especially difficult in poorer countries, where even general development is threatened by these challenges. Reliance on adaptation would exacerbate the health gap. Global climate change mitigation is the surest way to preserve health, in Africa and elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-587
Number of pages3
JournalSAMJ South African Medical Journal
Volume104
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Climate Change
Health
Economic Development
Food Supply
Communicable Diseases
Economics

Cite this

@article{0d0ceb0d7a1a4e95ae1780e6f62b1953,
title = "Socially, politically and economically mediated health effects of climate change: Possible consequences for Africa",
abstract = "In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, climate change looms as a profound health challenge in this century. Socially, politically and economically mediated ('tertiary') effects will probably be the most significant consequences of climate change, substantially exceeding the probable burden of its direct effects and infectious diseases. Climate change will decrease crop yields in many low-latitude areas, decreasing food security in many countries, including those in Africa. Under-nutrition will worsen, aggravated by diminished economic growth - one of the most widely predicted consequences of climate change. Furthermore, migration will increase, which will stretch and could even overwhelm health systems in destination areas, in addition to sapping donor locations of the financial and human capital they could use for further development. Mass migration heightens the risk of conflict, as does resource scarcity caused by climate change. Consequently, the capacity of states to meet the expectations of their citizens and impose law and order could further decrease, incentivising unscrupulous leaders to initiate or sustain conflict to enhance their support base. In summary, health systems on the African continent will be severely challenged by the increased demands caused by climate change, while their capacity will be diminished by its direct effects, reduced economic growth, additional migration and conflict. Adaptation is frequently treated as the best climate change response, but it is especially difficult in poorer countries, where even general development is threatened by these challenges. Reliance on adaptation would exacerbate the health gap. Global climate change mitigation is the surest way to preserve health, in Africa and elsewhere.",
keywords = "public health, climate change, conflict",
author = "Bowles, {Devin C} and Colin BUTLER",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.7196/SAMJ.8604",
language = "English",
volume = "104",
pages = "585--587",
journal = "Cardiovascular Journal of Africa",
issn = "0256-9574",
publisher = "Clinics Cardive Publishing (PTY)Ltd",
number = "8",

}

Socially, politically and economically mediated health effects of climate change: Possible consequences for Africa. / Bowles, Devin C; BUTLER, Colin.

In: SAMJ South African Medical Journal, Vol. 104, No. 8, 2014, p. 585-587.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

TY - JOUR

T1 - Socially, politically and economically mediated health effects of climate change: Possible consequences for Africa

AU - Bowles, Devin C

AU - BUTLER, Colin

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, climate change looms as a profound health challenge in this century. Socially, politically and economically mediated ('tertiary') effects will probably be the most significant consequences of climate change, substantially exceeding the probable burden of its direct effects and infectious diseases. Climate change will decrease crop yields in many low-latitude areas, decreasing food security in many countries, including those in Africa. Under-nutrition will worsen, aggravated by diminished economic growth - one of the most widely predicted consequences of climate change. Furthermore, migration will increase, which will stretch and could even overwhelm health systems in destination areas, in addition to sapping donor locations of the financial and human capital they could use for further development. Mass migration heightens the risk of conflict, as does resource scarcity caused by climate change. Consequently, the capacity of states to meet the expectations of their citizens and impose law and order could further decrease, incentivising unscrupulous leaders to initiate or sustain conflict to enhance their support base. In summary, health systems on the African continent will be severely challenged by the increased demands caused by climate change, while their capacity will be diminished by its direct effects, reduced economic growth, additional migration and conflict. Adaptation is frequently treated as the best climate change response, but it is especially difficult in poorer countries, where even general development is threatened by these challenges. Reliance on adaptation would exacerbate the health gap. Global climate change mitigation is the surest way to preserve health, in Africa and elsewhere.

AB - In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, climate change looms as a profound health challenge in this century. Socially, politically and economically mediated ('tertiary') effects will probably be the most significant consequences of climate change, substantially exceeding the probable burden of its direct effects and infectious diseases. Climate change will decrease crop yields in many low-latitude areas, decreasing food security in many countries, including those in Africa. Under-nutrition will worsen, aggravated by diminished economic growth - one of the most widely predicted consequences of climate change. Furthermore, migration will increase, which will stretch and could even overwhelm health systems in destination areas, in addition to sapping donor locations of the financial and human capital they could use for further development. Mass migration heightens the risk of conflict, as does resource scarcity caused by climate change. Consequently, the capacity of states to meet the expectations of their citizens and impose law and order could further decrease, incentivising unscrupulous leaders to initiate or sustain conflict to enhance their support base. In summary, health systems on the African continent will be severely challenged by the increased demands caused by climate change, while their capacity will be diminished by its direct effects, reduced economic growth, additional migration and conflict. Adaptation is frequently treated as the best climate change response, but it is especially difficult in poorer countries, where even general development is threatened by these challenges. Reliance on adaptation would exacerbate the health gap. Global climate change mitigation is the surest way to preserve health, in Africa and elsewhere.

KW - public health

KW - climate change

KW - conflict

U2 - 10.7196/SAMJ.8604

DO - 10.7196/SAMJ.8604

M3 - Comment/debate

VL - 104

SP - 585

EP - 587

JO - Cardiovascular Journal of Africa

JF - Cardiovascular Journal of Africa

SN - 0256-9574

IS - 8

ER -