Primarily based on a rising physique of analysis confirming quite a few and inseparable hyperlinks between local weather and well being, the World Well being Group’s (WHO) COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health spells out that transformational motion in each sector, from vitality, transport and nature to meals programs and finance is required to guard individuals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a lightweight on the intimate and delicate hyperlinks between people, animals and our surroundings”, stated WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The identical unsustainable selections which are killing our planet are killing individuals”.
An pressing name
WHO’s report was launched concurrently an open letter, signed by over two thirds of the worldwide well being workforce – 300 organizations representing at the least 45 million docs and well being professionals worldwide – calling for nationwide leaders and COP26 nation delegations to step up local weather motion.
“Wherever we ship care, in our hospitals, clinics and communities all over the world, we’re already responding to the well being harms brought on by local weather change”, the letter from the well being professionals reads.
“We name on the leaders of each nation and their representatives at COP26 to avert the upcoming well being disaster by limiting world warming to 1.5°C, and to make human well being and fairness central to all local weather change mitigation and adaptation actions”.
Fossil fuels ‘killing us’
Each the report and open letter come as unprecedented excessive climate occasions and different local weather impacts are taking a rising toll on everybody.
Heatwaves, storms and floods have taken hundreds of lives and disrupted tens of millions of others whereas additionally threatening healthcare programs and services when they’re wanted most, in line with WHO.
Modifications in climate and local weather are threatening meals safety and driving up food-, water- and vector-borne ailments, resembling malaria, whereas local weather impacts are additionally negatively affecting psychological well being.
“The burning of fossil fuels is killing us. Local weather change is the one greatest well being menace dealing with humanity”, states the WHO report. And whereas nobody is protected from the well being impacts of local weather change, “they’re disproportionately felt by essentially the most weak and deprived”.
10 Priorities to safeguard the world
- Decide to a wholesome, inexperienced and simply restoration from COVID-19.
- Make COP26 the ‘Well being COP’, putting well being and social justice on the coronary heart of discussions.
- Prioritize local weather interventions with the most important health-, social- and financial positive aspects.
- Construct local weather resilient well being programs, and assist well being adaptation throughout sectors.
- Transition to renewable vitality, to avoid wasting lives from air air pollution.
- Promote sustainable, wholesome city design and transport programs.
- Shield and restore nature and ecosystems.
- Promote sustainable meals provide chains and diets for local weather and well being outcomes.
- Transition in direction of a wellbeing economic system.
- Mobilize and assist the well being neighborhood on local weather motion.
Local weather actions far outweigh prices
In the meantime, air air pollution, primarily the results of burning fossil fuels, which additionally drives local weather change, causes 13 deaths per minute worldwide, in line with WHO.
The report states clearly that the general public well being advantages from implementing formidable local weather actions far outweigh the prices.
“It has by no means been clearer that the local weather disaster is likely one of the most pressing well being emergencies all of us face”, stated Maria Neira, WHO Director of Atmosphere, Local weather Change and Well being.
“Bringing down air air pollution…would scale back the overall variety of world deaths from air air pollution by 80 per cent whereas dramatically lowering the greenhouse gasoline emissions that gasoline local weather change”, she identified.
Dr. Neira added that a shift to extra nutritious, plant-based diets “may cut back world emissions considerably, guarantee extra resilient meals programs, and keep away from as much as 5.1 million diet-related deaths a yr by 2050”.
Name to motion
Though reaching the Paris Agreement on local weather change would enhance air high quality, weight loss plan and bodily exercise – saving tens of millions of lives a yr – most local weather decision-making processes at the moment don’t account for these well being co-benefits and their financial valuation.
Tedros underscored WHO’s name for all international locations to “decide to decisive motion at COP26 to restrict world warming to 1.5°C – not simply because it’s the proper factor to do, however as a result of it’s in our personal pursuits”, and highlighted 10 priorities within the report back to safeguard “the well being of individuals and the planet that sustains us.”
© UNICEF/Habibul Haque