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Kolkata Call to Action: World’s public health leaders advocate for an end to coal

HEAL welcomes the Kolkata Call to Action released at the 14th World Congress on Public Health in India.

The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), bringing together over 100 associations from across the globe, are advocating for “a rapid phase-out of coal” to limit further global warming and prevent illnesses and deaths associated with air pollution.

In the Kolkata call to Action, the WFPHA points to the “contribution of fossil fuels and coal in particular to climate change as well as to detrimental impacts on the health and wellbeing of local communities.”

HEAL very much welcomes the Call to Action and the medical community’s active involvement in advocating for clean energy, which mirrors the growing engagement in the EU and many European countries.

The statement is one of the strongest yet to emerge from the global public health community on action to limit fossil fuel use, calling for a rapid phase out of coal for electricity production, and a transition to renewable energy as an “investment in global health and healthy communities”. The WFPHA also advocates that public health associations should divest from fossil fuel projects or infrastructure.

The President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Dr Mengistu Asnake said the emphasis on fossil fuels as drivers of climate change and risks to community health in the statement “highlights their contribution to a massive burden of illness and death worldwide.”

“Millions of lives are at risk from climate change and the carbon intensive global economy,” Dr Asnake said, citing World Health Organization figures that seven million people die every year from air pollution, of which coal is significant contributor.

For a full copy of the Kolkata Declaration, click here

In parallel to the call to action, the Healthy Energy Initiative in which HEAL is a partner in, was launched.

To find out more about the Healthy Energy Initiative and HEAL’s involvement, visit: http://www.healthyenergyinitiative.org/ and follow on Twitter @healthyenergyi

Originally posted on 11 March 2015

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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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