Climate change the biggest health risk of this century: report

Climate change and particulate matter are the biggest health risks this century, according to a report by 27 global organizations, doctors, academics and policy experts published in medical journal Lancet. The same applies to particulate matter, which in the Netherlands alone caused an estimated 8 thousand deaths, said Peter Blankestijn, one of the Dutch participants in the study, RTL Nieuws reports.

Warmer and extreme weather, floods and forest fires do not only cause devastation, but also health problems. "Rapid climate change has serious consequences for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extreme weather conditions, infectious disease and changes in food security. The availability of safe drinking water and clean air is at risk", the report reads. 

The scientists call on governments to take swift action to curb climate change. A number of steps can already lead to considerable improvement. Switching to green energy is one of them. Closing all coal-fired power plants by 2030 is another. The public themselves can also help by putting the car away and walking or cycling more. 

This will reduce both emissions and healthcare costs. And more measures against climate change can be funded by the cost savings, according to the researchers.