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Today's babies won't know life without climate change, new report warns

Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island, Greenland on July 19, 2007. A new report from the international medical journal The Lancet says a child born today will never know a life where their health isn't placed at risk by a warming planet. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John McConnico

OTTAWA — A new report from the international medical journal The Lancet says a child born today will never know a life when his or her health isn’t at risk from a warming planet.

The journal says with climate change affecting everything from forest fires to food security, even if the world does what is needed to slow the rate of global warming, today’s children will always feel its consequences.

In some of the world’s hottest and poorest countries, malnutrition will increase while in a country like Canada, air pollution, exposure to toxic smoke and heat-related illnesses are bigger threats.

Dr. Courtney Howard, a Yellowknife emergency physician who helped pen a Canada-focused briefing paper out of the global report, says the if the world acts to slow climate change we can adapt to the impacts we are already seeing.

She says if we do nothing, the world will likely get so warm that adaptation will no longer be possible.

When people ask if frequent forest fires are a new normal, she says, the answer is no because the number of fires is very likely to keep going up.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2019.

The Canadian Press