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Serious Lack of Action to Reduce GHG Emissions Risks Our Health

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Invest in Your Planet.

An expert on health and climate in British Columbia says that means stopping new investments in fossil fuels, such as Liquified Natural Gas production.

SFU Health Science Professor Emeritus, Dr. Tim Takaro, says cutting greenhouse gas emissions not only helps stop the rise in global temperatures but will save lives.

Dr. Takaro is one of the co-authors of a recent Health Canada report that warned of a significant increase in air pollution-related deaths by the year 2030 if we stay our current path, which he says is business as usual.

According to Dr. Takaro, “the difference in deaths is in the tens of thousands that we can expect just from the particulate pollution alone.”

Dr. Takaro says reductions in GHG emissions will not only lessen the impact of global warming but create the co-benefit of saving lives that might have been lost to air pollution.

Another health concern is water supply and quality.

Dr. Takaro says community water systems that rely on surface water from lakes and reservoirs fed by glaciers and the annual snowpack are threatened.

“Those sources are not as reliable as they once were and the future looks very grim for communities that rely on glacial and snowpack water sources because those water sources are leaving, and they’re leaving permanently. We really need to get serious about our emissions and a lot of benefits will come from that.”

He warns our children and their children are going to be “profoundly affected by the impacts of global warming and climate change” and will affect our health in many ways.

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