Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn

Date:
September 16, 2009
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Health experts warn that failure to agree radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December spells a global health catastrophe.

An editorial and letter, published simultaneously by the BMJ and Lancet, warn that failure to agree radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December spells a global health catastrophe.

The scientific evidence that global temperatures are rising and that man is responsible has been widely accepted since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report in 2007, write Lord Michael Jay and Professor Michael Marmot in the editorial. There is now equally wide consensus that we need to act now to prevent irreversible climate change.

So the chances of success should be good but the politics are tough, they say.

The most vocal arguments are about equity: the rich world caused the problem so why should the poor world pay to put it right? Can the rich world do enough through its own actions and through its financial and technological support for the poor to persuade the poor to join in a global agreement?

These arguments need to be tackled head on, but Jay and Marmot believe that what's good for the climate is good for health. For example, a low carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is an opportunity too to advance health equity, which is increasingly seen as necessary for a healthy and happy society, they say.

They point out that the threat to health is especially evident in poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty and lack of resources, infrastructure, and often governance, greatly increase their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

If we take climate change seriously, it will require major changes to the way we live, reducing the gap between carbon rich and carbon poor within and between countries, they write.

A successful outcome at Copenhagen is vital for our future as a species and for our civilisation. Failure to agree radical reductions in emissions spells a global health catastrophe, which is why health professionals must put their case forcefully now and after Copenhagen, they conclude.

In the accompanying letter, doctors leaders across the world call on politicians to heed the health effects of climate change when they meet in Copenhagen.

They warn that "there is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these."

Doctors are still seen as respected and independent, largely trusted by their patients and the societies in which they practise, they write. As such, they urge doctors "to demand that their politicians listen to the clear facts that have been identified in relation to climate change and act now to implement strategies that will benefit health of communities worldwide."

"Politicians may be scared to push for radical reductions in emissions because some of the necessary changes to the way we live won't please voters," said Dr Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the BMJ. "Doctors are under no such constraint. On the contrary we have a responsibility as health professionals to warn people how bad things are likely to get if we don't act now. The good news is that we have a positive message - that what is good for the climate is good for health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915192232.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2009, September 16). Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915192232.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915192232.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins