Saturday, January 30, 2016

Record temperatures linked to rise in mosquito-borne viruses

Rising temperatures will lead to increases in mosquito-borne viruses such as the Zika virus, Janos Pasztor, UN assistant secretary-general on climate change, said at a press conference Friday.

"Clearly (the) Zika virus is linked to temperature -- you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if the temperatures go up there will be more of the kind of mosquito that carries the virus and there will be more infections," said Pasztor.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that the Zika virus is spreading "explosively" in the Americas, causing an "extremely high" level of alarm.

The WHO noted that a causal relationship between the virus infection and an increase in birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established but is strongly suspected.

However, there is little uncertainty that global temperatures are rising, according to the latest figures. 2015 was significantly warmer than the record level temperatures seen in 2014, Pasztor said.

"The World Meteorological Organization confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record not just by a little but by a lot," said Pasztor. 2015 was the first time that global temperatures had risen about one degree centigrade above the pre-industrial era, he said.

The recent Paris Climate Agreement aims to keep global average rise in temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably below 1.5 degrees.

Pasztor said there is already evidence that the agreement -- which was reached in December by the 196 Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- was a decisive turning point in climate change action. For example there are signs that demand for renewable energy has remained high despite the collapse in global oil prices, he said.

This was the last of a series of regular press briefings delivered by Pasztor in his role as Assistant-Secretary General. Pasztor said he had taken up the position specifically to work towards the Paris Climate Conference and that he would continue with the role of Senior Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Change.
 Xinhua -



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