A new report from one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals says Canada’s lack of progress in cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is already killing Canadians.
The Lancet says that successfully tackling climate change would be the single biggest thing governments can do to improve human health this century.
Chronic exposure to air pollution from greenhouse-gas-emitting activities is killing an estimated 7,142 Canadians a year, and 2.1 million people worldwide.
Heat waves, forest fires, flooding and major storms are causing more deaths and long-term illness but little data is available on how many.
The first recommendation in the report is simply to track the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths in Canada, something that isn’t done at all in most provinces.
Last summer, public-health officials in Quebec said 90 people died during a heat wave. Southern and eastern Ontario suffered the same heat but Ontario doesn’t track heat-related deaths the same way, so nobody knew how many people had been affected in the province next door.