Climate change affects health too, says scientist

Deadly heatwaves, hurricanes and spreading malaria infections appear to be just the obvious toll of global warming on people's health, said a scientist leading efforts to unravel how environmental change threatens lives.

"The thing that excites our governments most, and the public, is the prospect of climate change doing damage to the economic system," Tony McMichael, a professor at Australia's National University, said in Beijing on Friday.

"But much worse, of course, in terms of real sustainability is damage to the life-support system."

Scientists are trying to understand how environmental change may also do more elusive harm to health by spreading less well-known diseases, drying up water, raising sea levels, and displacing people in waves of environmental refugees, McMichael said.

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