HEAL signs up for urgent action on climate change
Brussels, 17 October 2011 - Leading doctors, security experts and non-governmental organizations are meeting today in London at a conference on the health and security implications of Climate Change. The meeting has issued a statement, which HEAL has signed.
The statement calls upon governments around the world to prioritise efforts to address the causes and impacts of climate change.
Specifically, the international health and military experts and representatives of whole range of organizations working on climate change who have signed the statement urge the European Union to unconditionally agree a target to cut emissions domestically by 30% by 2020, and to prepare further targets towards 2050 which would create incentives for a low-carbon transformation of the economy.
HEAL staff and several members are taking part in the meeting. HEAL urges all members to sign the statement.
Here is the statement (in full):-
Climate change poses an immediate, growing and grave threat to the health and security of people in both developed and developing countries around the globe.
Climate change leads to more frequent and extreme weather events and to conditions that favour the spread of infectious diseases. Rising sea levels, floods and droughts cause loss of habitat, water and food shortages, and threats to livelihood. These trigger conflict within and between countries.
Humanitarian crises will further burden military resources through the need for rescue missions and aid. Mass migration will also increase, triggered by both environmental stress and conflict, thus leading to serious further security issues. It will often not be possible to adapt meaningfully to these changes, and the economic cost will be enormous. As in medicine, prevention is the best solution.
Action to tackle climate change not only reduces the risks to our environment and global stability but also offers significant health co-benefits. Changes in power generation improve air quality. Modest life style changes – such as increasing physical activity through walking and cycling - will cut rates of heart disease and stroke, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, dementia and depressive illness. Climate change mitigation policies would thus significantly cut rates of premature death and disability for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The health co-benefits of lower carbon use save money: reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) would save over €80 billion a year in healthcare costs and through increased productivity of a healthier workforce.
We therefore call upon governments around the world to prioritise efforts to address the causes and impacts of climate change. Specifically we urge:
• The European Union to unconditionally agree a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions domestically by 30% by 2020, and to prepare further targets towards 2050 which would incentivise the decarbonisation of the economy.
• Developed countries to adopt more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, to increase their support for low carbon development and to invest in further research into the impact of climate change on health and security.
• Developing countries to actively identify the key ways in which climate change threatens health and democratic governance, as well as undertaking mitigation and adaptation activities, including through supported and unsupported NAMAs.
• All governments to enact legislative and regulatory change to stop the building of new unabated coal-fired power stations and phase out the continuing operation of existing plants prioritising lignite generation as most harmful to health.
• All parties at the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, to strive to adopt an ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction agreement consistent with the target of restricting the global temperature rise to 2°C as agreed in Copenhagen and Cancun, and in line with the pending UNFCCC review towards a 1.5°C limit above preindustrial levels.
• A mechanism ensuring that all people can share equitably the benefits of a safe atmosphere without penalising those with the least historical responsibility for climate change must be established.
• All governments to incorporate the UN Security Council Presidential statement from 20 July 2011 on the potential consequences of climate change on security into their short and long term security planning.
• All governments to strive to adopt climate change mitigation targets and policies that are more ambitious than their international commitments.
The Statement will be published in the British Medical Journal. For more information about the meeting and to see who endorsed the statement or to endorse it yourself, please go to: http://climatechange.bmj.com/statement
Contacts at the meeting:
Pendo Maro, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), and Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe), E-mail: email@example.com Mobile phone: +32 495 281 494
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is the leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union. We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, patients, citizens, women, youth and environmental experts, help to bring independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. www.env-health.org
Originally posted on 17 October 2011