By Sophie Squire
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Climate chaos damaging babies’ health

New reports show that extreme weather and disasters caused by climate change are having an impact on human health. It's another reason why fear of the future is growing.
Issue 2788
Forest fire sweeps a hill side in Greece in 2007 part of climate chaos. Picture: LotusR/Flickr

Forest fire sweeps a hill side in Greece in 2007. Picture: LotusR/Flickr

A new report has found that the last seven years were the hottest on record and that temperatures have already risen by 1.2 degrees from pre-industrial levels.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service said 2021 was the fifth-warmest year ever, with record‑breaking heat in some regions. 

Rising heat has deadly consequences. Six separate studies have found the climate crisis puts both mothers and their babies at risk during pregnancy and after birth. 

One found that births are 16 percent more likely to be premature in areas suffering heatwaves. 

Another study found the prevalence of Fetal gastroschisis, a condition where babies’ intestines extend out of the belly, increases in areas with frequent wildfires.  The scientists that complied the studies wrote, “The evidence is clear. Climate hazards, particularly heat and air pollution, do adversely impact a wide range of reproductive, perinatal and paediatric health outcomes.

“The expected pace of continued climate change and resulting impacts on our physical and mental health and wellbeing calls for decisive and immediate action on adaptation.”

Scientists also concluded it is the poorest and most marginalised mothers and children who are disproportionately harmed by the climate crisis. 

No wonder ever more people are fearful of climate change. 

A new US survey found that six in ten Americans are concerned about climate change, with 33 percent saying they are “alarmed” by the crisis. In the last decade the number saying they are “alarmed” has doubled. Just 9 percent were dismissive of the threat.  The percentage of those “dismissive” has shrunk rapidly in recent years.

Protests against Shell are spreading

Protests are pushing back oil and gas giant Shell. Thousands protested on the beaches of Mar del Plata a tree‑lined coastal city in Argentina earlier this month.

Activists are angry that centre left president Alberto Fernandez has given the go-ahead to Shell and Equinor firms to conduct “seismic exploration” of the Argentine Sea for gas and oil drilling. 

Juan Manuel Ballestero, a surfer and lifeguard on the coast, said that he was against further exploration because of “disastrous data on oil spills in Brazil and Mexico.”

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