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The planet won’t be habitable in five years if we see five degree warming

news editor21 February 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Helen Fry, Research Assistant, UCL Institute for Global Health

1“The planet won’t be habitable in five years if we see a five degree increase in average temperatures,” warned Professor Sir John Beddington at the opening of UCL’s Global Food Security Symposium.

Sir John, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, outlined two critical global challenges: a population that will increase to 9 billion by 2043, and temperature changes that leave us at an ever higher risk of extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts.

These issues exist on top of current food, water and energy insecurity: hundreds of millions go hungry, lack access to safe water and do not have enough electricity.

Will countries stop emitting carbon? Sir John doesn’t think so. Fuels such as shale oil and gas in the United States have too significant an impact on their economy. Instead, apologising for his negative outlook on the prospects of climate change, he turned to solutions in addressing food security, identifying climate smart technology and sustainable agriculture as two important tools.

Sir John’s talk was followed by a panel debate with Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography), Dr Sidip Mitra (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) and Professor Richard Kock (Royal Veterinary College). Highlights included Professor Maslin describing Gross Domestic Product as an “awful measure of a country” and Professor Kock warning that vegetarianism as the solution to climate change is “fraught with false premise”.

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A grey area: do the elderly hold the key to tackling non-communicable disease?

news editor6 December 2012

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

Written by Amelia Tait of the UCL Institute for Global Health.

On Tuesday 4 December, the Attlee Suite in the Houses of Parliament was filled to the brim with more than 140 audience members, policy makers, and global health experts from around the world meeting to discuss the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases.

Professor Anthony Costello, Director of UCL’s Institute for Global health, chaired the debate and opened by remarking that the “wicked problem” of NCDs accounts for 63% of deaths worldwide.

Non-communicable or lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are medical conditions of a non-infectious nature, and – in Costello’s words – are “the biggest killer of people in the world”.

Learning from HIV?

The panel’s experts led a debate on the ways in which the NCD movement can learn from the precedents set by the HIV/AIDS movement in the 1980s.

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