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Floodwaters remain in Helmetta, New Jersey, on Aug. 22 following flash flooding as Tropical Storm Henri swept through. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have experienced a weather disaster since June —  showing the extent to which climate change is impacting people's daily lives. Photo: Tom Brenner/AFP via Getty Images

Global warming is affecting people's health — and world leaders need to address the climate crisis now as it can't wait until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, editors of over 230 medical journals warned Sunday evening.

Why it matters: This is the first time so many publications have come together to issue such a joint statement to world leaders, underscoring the severity of the situation — with the Lancet and the British Medical Journal among those issuing the warning.

  • Ahead of this November's UN general assembly and the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the journals warned: "The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C and to restore nature."

Threat level: "Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world," states the editorial, which also ran in the New England Journal of Medicine, the International Nursing Review, the Chinese Science Bulletin and Brazil's Revista de Saude Publica.

  • "Despite the world's necessary preoccupation with COVID-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions."

Of note: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement ahead of the editorial's publication that the "risks posed by climate change could dwarf those of any single disease."

  • "We will end the COVID-19 pandemic, but there's no vaccine for the climate crisis," Tedros added.
  • The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last month global warming could reach 1.5°C (2.7°F) compared to pre-industrial levels by 2030.

State of play: The editorial reports that heat-related mortality among people older than 65 has risen by over 50% in the past 20 years.

  • Global warming has also impacted farming production, "hampering efforts to reduce undernutrition," the journal editors-in-chief write.
"Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality."

The bottom line: "The science is unequivocal: a global increase of 1.5° C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse," the editorial warns.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change could hit people of color especially hard

Data: EPA; Note: Relative effects at 2°C warming above 1986-2005 average and 50 centimeters of sea level rise;  Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

A growing environmental threat to communities of color — particularly Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans — is the damage some are likely to suffer because of climate change in the coming years.

The big picture: This visual is based on an EPA analysis released this month that explores how warming and rising seas could make life especially miserable for people of color based on where they currently live in the lower 48 states.

Formerly redlined areas now are often urban heat islands

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Heat is typically the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S. — but depending on the neighborhood, some city residents experience cooler, more manageable temperatures than others.

Why it matters: All cities trap heat, with their darkly colored asphalt and energy absorbent buildings — a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island effect. However, within these heat islands, some areas are consistently hotter.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.