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200 health journals call on government’s to address climate crisis

Over 200 health journals are calling on world leaders to address the ‘catastrophic harm to health’ caused by climate change. 

The editorial, which is published in leading titles from every continent, urges governments to intervene to help transform societies and economies.

This is the first time that so many journals have come together to make a statement, reflecting the severity of the climate crisis. 

The authors highlight that substantial investment will be needed, but that this will have huge positive health and economic benefits, including high-quality jobs, reduced air pollution, increased physical activity and improved housing and diet. 

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The editorial is being published ahead of the UN General Assembly next week, one of the last international meetings taking place before the COP26 conference.

This is a crucial moment for all countries to deliver enhanced and ambitious climate plans to honour the goals of the Paris Agreement. However, the authors state that achieving these goals hinges on wealthy nations, particularly those that have disproportionately created the environmental crisis doing more to support low and middle-income countries to build cleaner, healthier, and more resilient societies.

The editorial states: ‘As health professionals, we must do all we can to aid the transition to a sustainable, fairer, resilient, and healthier world. We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course.’

Dr Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of The BMJ, and one of the co-authors of the editorial said: ‘Health professionals have been on the frontline of the covid-19 crisis and they are united in warning that going above 1.5C and allowing the continued destruction of nature will bring the next, far deadlier crisis.

‘Wealthier nations must act faster and do more to support those countries already suffering under higher temperatures. 2021 has to be the year the world changes course — our health depends on it.’

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

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