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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Jaime Martínez-Urtaza participates in the Lancet report on climate change and health

15 Nov 2023
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Researcher in the UAB Department of Genetics and Microbiology Jaime Martínez-Urtaza is one of the world’s leading experts who took part in the Lancet Countdown 2023. The annual report on health and climate change published by The Lancet reveals the human cost of climate inaction.

Jaime Martinez Urtaza

Molecular epidemiologist and genomics specialist Jaime Martínez-Urtaza, lecturer and researcher in the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the UAB, is one of the world experts participating in the global initiative Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the annual report on the effect of climate change on health published by the prestigious journal Lancet.

The report, now in its eighth edition, provides a disturbing health assessment, with new global projections revealing the serious and growing health threat posed by further delay in taking action on climate change.

The report finds that in 2022 people were, on average, exposed to 86 days of health-threatening high temperatures, of which 60% were at least twice as likely to occur due to human-caused climate change.  Heat-related deaths are likely to increase 4.7 times by mid-century.

At the same time, the authors describe the opportunity that a fair energy transition offers to reduce inequalities and improve the health and well-being of all populations. However, they warn that the report's data reveal that the world is moving in the wrong direction. Governments, corporations and banks continue to invest in oil and gas as the challenges and costs of adaptation skyrocket and the world moves closer to irreversible damage.

The analysis warns that the health of humanity is at serious risk without deep and rapid mitigation to address the root causes of climate change, with urgent climate actions focused on health.

Professor Jaime Martínez-Urtaza is a Beatriz Galindo Senior Distinguished Researcher in the Genetics Unit of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the UAB, where he develops his line of research at the UAB on the genomics and evolution of human pathogens, and on how climate change impacts on the dynamics of epidemics associated with diseases caused by these pathogens.

He has previously worked at the University of Santiago de Compostela, at the European Centre for Disease Control (Sweden), as a lecturer at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath (UK) and at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in the UK. He is honorary lecturer at the University of Exeter (UK) and visiting lecturer at the University of Southampton (UK), Universidad de la Frontera (Chile) and Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo-CIAD (Mexico). He is also scientific advisor to the National Institute of Health of Peru and FAO and WHO expert for food and waterborne diseases.

His work covers different aspects of molecular epidemiology and the effects of climate on infectious diseases with a particular interest in the study of food and water-borne diseases. A central theme in his research is the fusion of different scientific disciplines such as molecular biology, microbiology, population genetics, oceanography, climate science and epidemiology to decipher the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. During recent years, he has devoted much of his activity to the application of advanced genomic tools to identify new aspects in the evolution, transmission and dispersion of human pathogens in connection with natural events or activities associated with human activity.

More information:

Link to the Lancet Countdown project

The UAB, with Sustainable Development Goals

  • Life on land
  • Life below water
  • Good health and well-being
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Partnerships for the goals
  • Climate action