The World Health Organization (WHO) says that around 684,000 lives will be saved each year by 2030 if China will implement its climate act to curb the effects of global warming to the environment. WHO urges China to review the effects of climate change as a new study reveals that some parts of China have air pollution levels 10 to 20 times higher than safe levels.
According to WHO's report, Climate and Health Country Profile - 2015, the annual temperature rise in China is estimated at an average of 6.1°C from 1990 to 2100. China, with a population at 1.3 billion, is one of the largest economies in the world.
However, without actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 23 million people are projected to be affected by flooding due to the rise in sea levels each year between 2070 and 2100. If implementation of environment protection policies and construction of dikes will be done, the number of affected people will be limited to just 2,400.
"Air pollution and climate change pose serious risks to the health of our environment. And they pose serious threats to human health," said Dr. Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO representative in China.
He said that Chinese people are faced with 'unbreathable outdoor air' everyday of their lives. "This is taking its toll on the country's health - in increasing rates of sickness and death caused by respiratory tract infections, heart disease, and lung cancer," he added.
The report further added that under the high emissions scenario and with the climate act not being implemented, the numbers of warm spell will increase from less than 10 days in 1990 to around 165 days by 2100. However, if gas emissions will decrease, the warm days will be limited to just an average of 30.
Health implications of climate change include increased transmission of infectious diseases, dengue transmissions and presence of virulent pathogens. Furthermore, with an increase in temperature, people are at higher risk for heat-induced conditions.
In 2017, China is set to launch its Nationwide Carbon Emission Trading Market in the government's effort to reduce and eventually stem carbon emissions.
"Officials will start the launch at a faster pace after seeing the smooth operation of seven pilot schemes across the country," said Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change. The Chinese government should cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent of the 2005 level by year 2030. This goal is higher than what was set by 2020 of 40 percent.