Climate Change, Women’s Health, and What We Can/Should Do

CSW58 / UU-UNO

Jan W. Dash, PhD
Chair, UU-UNO Climate Initiative Matchmaker, Climate Science Rapid Response Team March 2014

3/11/14

Save date

1

Outline: Climate / Women’s Health
!! Impacts

of climate change (general) !! Impacts of climate change on health !! Impact on women’s health (specific) !! What can / should we do !! Appendix
!! Quick review of the science !! The climate deniers - action opponents

3/11/14

Save date

2

Climate Change Increasingly Impacts our Life Support Systems
We are seeing bad impacts NOW !! Impacts will get FAR WORSE if we do not act !! No place to hide (US will be hit very hard) !! Disasters increasingly worse due to climate change if we don’t act, more: National insecurity, wars, migrations, water shortages, food shortages, fires, droughts, disease, floods, extinctions, extreme weather, sea level rise, heat waves, economic disruption !! Women and children hit the hardest
!!
3/11/14 Save date 3

Ex: Crops down by 2100 (IPCC Vol II, TS.7)

CROP YIELDS DOWN WHEN TEMP UP

3/11/14

Save date

4

Climate Impacts and Health Risk
!!THESE

CLIMATE IMPACTS WILL NEGATIVELY AFFECT HEALTH GENERALLY AND WOMEN’S HEALTH SPECIFICALLY

!!Gender, Climate Change, and Health "! World Health Organization report
3/11/14 Save date 5

Climate Change and Health
!! "Climate

change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.
!! Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk.” !! Ref:!"Managing the health effects of climate change"!,!Anthony Costello et. al; Vol373 May16, 2009

3/11/14

Save date

6

Climate Impacts & Health IPCC 2007

HEALTH

3/11/14

Save date

7

3 specific examples of climate impacts on women, #1: Disasters
!! “Men

and women are affected differently in all phases of a disaster …
!! IPCC 2007,Vol II, Chapter 8, p. 398

!! Ex: In

the 1991 cyclone disasters that killed 140 000 people in Bangladesh, 90% of victims were women (WHO report; Aguilar, 2004) !! Heat wave in Europe !! Climate change => more extreme events

3/11/14

Save date

8

#2 Ex: Water Shortages
!! In

most developing countries, women are responsible for collecting, storing, protecting and distributing water… !! In times of water scarcity women have to carry water home from unsafe sources. This can lead to water-related diseases such as diarrhoeal disease, which in developing countries is a leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age (WHO & UNICEF, 2005)
3/11/14 Save date 9

#3 Ex: Food Insecurity
Inuit Women (Canadian Journal Public Health 2010)

! FOOD

!CLIMATE
3/11/14 Save date 10

What can we do? Climate Risk Management
!! Recognition

of risks: 2 types

!! Average risk: probable, low impact !! Extreme risk: less probable, high impact
!! The

best way to think about the response to climate is RISK MANAGEMENT
!! Rational response to risk - lower it! !! If don’t act, today s extreme climate risk " tomorrow s average climate risk

3/11/14

Save date

11

Climate Mitigation – no silver bullet. Progress exists (good). We need MORE
!! Action

by individuals !! Action by organizations
!! Corporations, Universities, Faith-based, NGOs
!! Action !! Action

at all levels of government to support non-fossil energy

!! City, State, Regional, National, International !! Carbon tax (put a price on carbon) !! Investor action (divestment, shareholders…)

3/11/14

Save date

12

Climate Ethics – why we should act
!! Climate

!! Poor have the smallest effect on climate – are hurt the worst
!! Women and children in developing countries

justice:

!! Intergenerational

!! Lives of our descendants !! More humane for preventive action by us now rather than requiring expensive disaster adaption by our descendants in the future

ethics:

3/11/14

Save date

13

Reference: climate.uu-uno.org

3/11/14

Save date

14

Bottom Line on Climate: Big Problem that We Can Solve
!! Human

activities are causing recent global warming / climate change !! Climate impacts bad, observed now, will become far worse if we do not act
!! Health impacts will be very bad
!! NOT

too late !! We have the technology, just need the will !! We need optimism (no other choice)

!!You

can help
3/11/14 Save date 15

Thank You

3/11/14

Save date

16

APPENDIX: QUICK SCIENCE REVIEW: Global warming exists, due to us. Graph: Natural variation removed (El Niños/La Niñas, volcanoes, sun):

3/11/14

Save date

17

Temperature Forecasts depend on Human Behavior (Model scenarios)
IPCC 2007 Science Vol I Now appear conservative

3/11/14

Save date

18

APPENDIX: Contrarians / Deniers and Opposition to climate action
!!

We Have No Climate Risk 4 trenches:
1.! 2.! 3.! 4.!
!!

Deny global warming exists Deny human influence on climate Minimize climate impact risk Exaggerate cost of climate action mitigation

!! Create

doubt = old tobacco tactic

Science can’t prove so we shouldn’t act !! Oppose climate action, renewable energy
!! Sponsors: libertarian think tanks, fossil fuel interests
3/11/14 Save date 19