Effect of climate change on health in Azerbaijan

Research article: Effect of climate change on health in Azerbaijan
Author (s): I.S. Zulfugarov*, I.M. Huseynova
Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnologies, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, 11 Izzat Nabiyev Str., Baku AZ 1073, Azerbaijan
*For correspondence: i.zulfugarov@imbb.science.az
Received: April 09, 2021; Received in revised form: April 09, 2021; Accepted: April 05, 2021 

It is known that humanity is facing a new and unusual problem, such as global climate change of anthropogenic origin. The causes of this problem, its consequences for the environment, economy, human health, and other areas of life are already being noted. In recent decades, 90 percent of the causes of climate change have been associated with man-made pollution, especially the release of large amounts of "greenhouse gases" (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, etc.) into the atmosphere and deforestation. The concentration of "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere has never been higher in the history of mankind. In particular, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the use of hydrocarbon fuels is increasing rapidly in line with fuel consumption. The essence of the "greenhouse effect" known to science since the first half of the XIX century is that the thermal energy released from the Earth's surface heated by solar energy (50% of solar energy is absorbed by the Earth) is absorbed by atmospheric air and "greenhouse gases". It plays the role of a kind of "polyethylene cover". As a result, the temperature of the Earth's surface and oceans is gradually rising, and the Arctic, Greenland and some large mountain glaciers are degrading. It was found that from 1899 to 2007, the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere increased by more than 1°C, and the temperature of ocean waters increased by 0.8°C. Such global climate change is accompanied by a number of serious cataclysms on the planet - rising sea and ocean levels, river floods, floods, storms, hurricanes, torrential rains, severe heat, drought, forest fires, desertification, and in some places swamps accompanied by natural disasters. Observations show that an increase in ocean temperature by 1.0-1.5°C leads to a rapid decline in several oceanic species, including some fish species. It is predicted that by the end of the XXI century, the level of ocean water will rise by 30-45 cm. This means, first of all, the flooding of large areas, a number of islands and island countries, the world's largest coastal cities, the degradation of agriculture, the threat of food shortages. The economic consequences of natural disasters as a result of global warming include the destruction of houses due to flooding of coastal areas, the lack of drinking water, the deterioration of living conditions of the population accompanied by the failure of engineering facilities and infrastructure. Such natural phenomena are already registered in our country (in recent years, due to the rise in the level of the Kura River, groundwater in the regions, damage to the infrastructure of some mountain rivers, landslides, etc.). The intensification of global climate change increases the expected risk of such events. Therefore, there must be a limit to the impact of human activities on the environment. Global warming of 2°C should be considered an undesirable limit. If at 2°C by the middle of the century, 500 million people will suffer from a shortage of drinking water, at 3°C their number will reach 3 billion. The initiative of Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) to address the climate change impact on health is a worthy scientific effort. The effects of global climate change, and in particular, its impact on health, are already being felt in many different ways and forms around the world. Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 53 countries in the European region shows that the direct health effects of climate change include abnormally high or low temperatures, as well as diseases caused by high temperatures during floods, storms, and forest fires. It is accompanied by an increase in the number of malignant tumors, mental disorders, trauma, and death. According to the WHO, climate change now causes more than 150,000 premature deaths (excluding predicted deaths) each year. Climate warming, as well as an increase in the number of infectious and parasitic pathogens (acute intestinal infections, viral hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, etc.), the expansion of the range of some natural foci of infection (tick-borne encephalitis, skin leishmaniasis, malaria, etc.), goes along. Moreover, COVID-19 is also spreading due to a compromised immune system. Thus, the world needs the decarbonization of the world economy and change of financial power from grey to green to initiate the resilience of people and communities to provide a safe and healthy environment for the future generations.

Keywords: Adaptation, agriculture, climate change, COVID-19, decarbonization, diseases, food security, global warming, health, mitigation


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