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Canadian doctors urged to fight climate change

Medical professionals in Canada are looking into how climate change can lead to various public health problems. A recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal lays out this latest evidence and urges doctors to become more vocal in demanding climate action.

The recent editorial, entitled´Physicians roles on the front line of climate change´ provides the facts that climate change can lead to various health problems including increased mortality as heat waves become more intense; a rising incidence of allergies and; the spread of infectious diseases into new areas.

This is not the first time that doctors have flagged up the threat of climate change to public health. In 2011, the American Medical Association published its own version and in 2009, the British Medical Journal called climate change “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”

The editorial lays out what health experts have already concluded about climate and health — that an estimated 140,000 deaths per year since 1970 can plausibly be attributed to climate change, for example, or that by 2030 the world will be spending between $2 and $4 billion annually in climate-related health costs. It also points out what may not yet be clear to physicians: that they’ll be the first responders to this growing health crisis.

The piece calls on doctors to take concrete action, either by signing the Doha Declaration (a document resulting from the UN climate change talks in Doha last year), and encouraging others to do as well as working to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at the hospitals and clinics where they practice. HEAL is one of the signatories of The Doha Declaration on Climate, Health and Wellbeing.

Originally posted on 14 March 2013

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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