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The pace and trajectory of global and local environmental changes are jeopardizing our health in numerous ways, among them exacerbating the risk of disease emergence and spread in both the community and the healthcare setting via healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Factors such as climate change, widespread land alteration, and biodiversity loss underlie changing human–animal–environment interactions that drive disease vectors, pathogen spillover, and cross-species transmission of zoonoses. Climate change–associated extreme weather events also threaten critical healthcare infrastructure, infection prevention and control (IPC) efforts, and treatment continuity, adding to stress to strained systems and creating new areas of vulnerability. These dynamics increase the likelihood of developing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), vulnerability to HAIs, and high-consequence hospital-based disease transmission. Using a One Health approach to both human and animal health systems, we can become climate smart by re-examining impacts on and relationships with the environment. We can then work collaboratively to reduce and respond to the growing threat and burden of infectious diseases.
We summarize what we assess as the past year's most important findings within climate change research: limits to adaptation, vulnerability hotspots, new threats coming from the climate–health nexus, climate (im)mobility and security, sustainable practices for land use and finance, losses and damages, inclusive societal climate decisions and ways to overcome structural barriers to accelerate mitigation and limit global warming to below 2°C.
We synthesize 10 topics within climate research where there have been significant advances or emerging scientific consensus since January 2021. The selection of these insights was based on input from an international open call with broad disciplinary scope. Findings concern: (1) new aspects of soft and hard limits to adaptation; (2) the emergence of regional vulnerability hotspots from climate impacts and human vulnerability; (3) new threats on the climate–health horizon – some involving plants and animals; (4) climate (im)mobility and the need for anticipatory action; (5) security and climate; (6) sustainable land management as a prerequisite to land-based solutions; (7) sustainable finance practices in the private sector and the need for political guidance; (8) the urgent planetary imperative for addressing losses and damages; (9) inclusive societal choices for climate-resilient development and (10) how to overcome barriers to accelerate mitigation and limit global warming to below 2°C.
Social media summary
Science has evidence on barriers to mitigation and how to overcome them to avoid limits to adaptation across multiple fields.
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