The global community must confront today’s emergencies while laying sustenable foundations for a healthier future.

Climate change threatens to undermine half a century of progress in global health, according to a major new report. “We see climate change as a major health issue and that it is often neglected in the policy debates,” said the director of the UCL Institute of Global Health and and climate change co-chair of the commission, Professor Anthony Costello.

Virtually all of things we want to do to protect us against climate change will improve our health.

  • The comprehensive analysis sets out the direct risks to health, including heatwaves, floods shortages and droughts, that can lead people to migrate as refugees, leading to further health problems, or even to conflicts. and indirect – but no less deadly – risks, including air pollution, spreading diseases, famines and mental ill-health.
  • The commission is seeking consciously to shift the balance from what Costello called “catastrophism” to a far more positive message about the potential for improving human health.

There is huge benefits to be gained by tackling air pollution, one of the most important health risk factors globally. The analysis also concludes that the benefits to health resulting from slashing fossil fuel use are so large that tackling global warming also presents the greatest global opportunity to improve people’s health in the 21st century.

The report emerges just before a Tuesday White House summit on climate change and public health, to be attended by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. In rolling out a new initiative to highlight the links between climate and health in April — of which the summit is part.

  • The report, produced by the Lancet/UCL commission on health and climate change, is the latest in a line of significant interventions in the run-up to a crunch UN climate summit in Paris in December, when nations hope to agree a global deal on cutting emissions.

The global community must confront today’s emergencies while laying sustenable foundations for a healthier future. Neither WHO nor indeed any other single institution can accomplish such a task. But, working closely with countries and UCL partners, can provide the initial leadership to develop appropriate partnerships to raise awareness of the impact of climate change and take action in which messages can be most effectively communicated and acted upon.

  • A rapid action to tackle global emissions and help communities to adapt is crucial to reduce the treats of ill-health, hunger and additional hardship.

It remains to be seen whether the global community will muster sufficient political commitment and sufficient resources to shape a healthier future for all people, especially the most disadvantaged. Enormous technical and political challenges stand in the way. Democratic, inclusive institutions such as UN must be used to their full potential, along with WHO and all partners.

The Lancet/UCL commission report was very timely, coming a few months ahead of the Paris conference.

Democratic processes remain preferable to any known alternativ, especially in such fundamental Public Health issue as impact of climate change. “A public health perspective has the potential to unite all actors behind a common cause — the health and wellbeing of our communities” the report state.

Act On Climate is clear. Just see 23 June 2015 – How is Climate Change Impacting Your Health? – U.S. summit – National dialogue on climate change and health, highlighting the impacts of climate change, underscoring the important role the public health community can play in communicating and preventing these impacts.

  • Obama administration sees cost savings, health benefits from climate action— President Obama commented that “there are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home.”

The EU has also a clear ambition to contribute to the improvement of environment. That is why the European Commission presented the project known as the “20-20-20” which is a set of binding legislation aiming to achieve three core targets for year 2020. A reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions , raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources and improvement in the EU´s energy efficiency.

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