Responsible for about 5 million premature deaths in the world every year, air pollution is also a protagonist among the global climate change causes. An additional factor – the extreme cold and hot weather expected as a consequence of climate change – will also add up to the growing number of deaths connected to climate. “It’s a great threat, but an avoidable and manageable one. Although, actual action from governing authorities is lacking”, said Prof. Saldiva, from the Pathology Department of FMUSP, who, on September 20th, has shown the results of several articles on climate, published by a network of scientists connected to the Imperial College London, of which the pathologist is part of.
The topic is so hot it has gained a special session organized by the United Nations (UN) on June 19th, when a document presented by science academies of four countries – including Brazil -, was delivered to the organization’s ambassadors. On the occasion, it was also published the Air Pollution and Health initiative, with the goal of launching global actions and accords on climate.
The event was organized by the Sustainability Commission of FMUSP and was followed by an audience interested in the theme, which listened closely to the results presented in the Surgical Clinic Amphitheater of FMUSP. “Our receptors of temperature, metabolism and skin color have taken millions of years to adapt to the different locations on Earth. Now we see mass migration, hunger, wars, pollution and climate change which put us facing an unprecedented need to adapt much faster. We are already seeing the consequences. There is an increase in the number of deaths due to pollution, which is one of the greatest causes of global climate change”, alerted Saldiva, director of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA) of USP.
“To create this document and to launch the Air Pollution and Health action was an initiative of scientists who produce good quality science and expect to see the results of their research applied for the well-being of people”, according to the professor. The document was produced by scientists of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC), the South Africa Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Science of Germany Leopoldina, the National Academy of Medicine of the USA and the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Among the Brazilian scientists are Prof. Nelson Gouveia, of the Preventive Medicine Department of FMUSP, the academic and professor of the Physics Institute of USP, Paulo Artaxa, besides the researcher Maria da Fatima Andrade, from the Atmospheric Sciences Department of USP, and the academic Simone Georges El Khouri Miraglia, of the Environmental, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of Unifesp, besides Prof. Saldiva.
According to the document, if there is a reduction of short duration pollutants such as methane and black carbon, it would be possible to reduce the global warming up to 0.5°C in the next decades, at the same time avoiding 2.4 million premature deaths.
“Now we are adapting this document to Brazil and handing it to the corresponding authorities. I regret the fact health doesn’t have an exclusive chapter within the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It’s about an important and urgent need, but without the voices or arguments because the energetic option has been put”, said Prof. Saldiva.
Watch the video of the lecture.