India will be among the worst hit countries and face a large number of deaths due to reduced crop productivity, according to a new study on climate change by the University of Oxford.A modelling study estimates climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults worldwide in 2050. The study from the university’s Martin Future of Food programme was published on Thursday in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’.
The countries that would be worst affected by this crisis are low- income and middle-income countries, mainly those in the Western Pacific region (264,000 additional deaths), Southeast Asia (164,000), China (248,000) and India (136,000).The research is considered the strongest evidence so far, that climate change could have horrendous consequences for food production and overall health worldwide, a university statement said.The study led by Marco Springmann is the first of its kind to assess the impact of climate change on diet composition and body weight. It estimates the number of deaths that these two factors will cause in 2050 in 155 countries.
The study also states that unless action is taken to reduce global emissions, climate change could cut the projected improvement in food availability by about a third by 2050, and lead to average per-person reductions in food availability of 3.2% (99 kcal per day), in fruit and vegetable intake of 4.0% (14.9 g per day), and red meat consumption of 0.7% (0.5g per day).
“We found that in 2050, these changes could be responsible for around 529,000 extra deaths. We looked at the health effects of changes in agricultural production that are likely to result from climate change and found that even modest reductions in the availability of food per person could lead to changes in the energy content and composition of diets, and these changes will have major consequences for health,” Springmann said.
Cutting emissions could reduce the number of climate-related deaths by 29%-71% depending on the strength of the interventions, the study added.“Adaptation efforts need to be scaled up rapidly. Public health programmes aimed at preventing and treating diet- and weight-related risk factors, such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake, must be strengthened as a matter of priority to help mitigate climate-related health effects,” Springmann added.
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