ROME, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Only about two generations may be left before the impact of climate change on earth and human life become irreparable, according to officials with Italy's National Institute of Health (ISS) on Monday.
The warning came as the ISS held its first International Scientific Symposium on Health and Climate Change in the Italian capital on Dec. 3-5.
"We have two generations to save the planet from climate change, and from the devastating effects it will have on humankind and land," ISS president Walter Ricciardi said in his opening remarks.
"This is the time left to implement effective measures...climate change is the true global threat of this century," added Ricciardi, hygiene and public health professor with Milan-based Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
The Roman event kicked off as the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change continued in Katowice, Poland.
Some 500 researchers from 30 countries were taking part in the Italian conference, with the aim of addressing the different health risks connected to climate change through 22 multi-disciplinary sessions.
Climate change directly affected social and environmental health determinants, such as clean air, ecosystems health, safe drinking water and sufficient food, the ISS explained in a presentation paper.
At global level, people at highest risk of adverse health effects associated with climate change are children, elders and vulnerable groups.
"Socio-economically disadvantaged groups and areas where infrastructures and/or social services are not efficient, will fail in adapting to climate change and related health hazards," experts warned.
In a concrete example concerning Italy, the ISS said that recent estimates based on worst-case scenario showed Italy may see the number of annual heat waves increase "exponentially" to between 75 and 250 by 2100.
"A study evaluated the effects of heat on hospital admissions in children, and showed a 12 percent increase in paediatric hospitalizations for respiratory causes associated with a change in daily temperature equal on average to about 4 degrees Celsius," the ISS wrote.
The mentioned epidemiological study was run in the Lazio region surrounding Rome, and was coordinated by Italy's National Research Council (CNR), the regional health service and the research center of the National Institute For Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL).
At the closure, the international symposium was due to issue a recommendation paper.
"The Symposium will produce a document based on scientific evidence, with all recommendations and actions necessary to tackle and reduce the risks of climate changes on health," the ISS said. "The International Charter of Rome...will be meant as a tool to suggest useful actions to policy-makers, but also to raise awareness on such issues and try to put them on top of all agendas."