(CNN), The impacts could become catastrophic and irreversible unless governments do much more to address global warming, the editors of more than 230 medical journals said in a joint editorial Monday.
The editorial points to established links between the climate crisis and a slew of adverse health impacts over the past 20 years: Among them are an increase in heat deaths, dehydration and kidney function loss, skin cancer, tropical infections, mental health issues, pregnancy complications, allergies, and heart and lung disease, and deaths associated with them.
“Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades,” the editorial reads.
It warned that an increase of global average temperatures of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and the loss of biodiversity risked “catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.” Governments around the world are laying out plans to try to contain global warming to 1.5°C to stave off worsening impacts of climate change, a target that the editorial said did not go far enough to protect public health. Warming is already at around 1.2°C.