Health impact of climate change recognised in EP resolution
Press release, Brussels, 25 November 2009 - In a plenary vote on its Resolution on Climate Change, the European Parliament has today recognised the need to consider public health, as well as the co-benefits of emission reductions to global health.(1)
Two leading European health advocacy organisations, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe) welcome the amendments. HEAL, HCWH and six other health organisations (2) wrote to Members of the European Parliament on 23 November to encourage them to support the health-friendly amendments (See below). Two amendments tabled by the ALDE Group, and one amendment tabled by Greens/EFA were accepted.
The urgent call to include health more centrally in climate negotiations is being voiced by the health community around the world. In London and Washington today, the influential health publication The Lancet is launching its “Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions” report. (3)
HEAL and HCWH have launched "The Prescription for a Healthy Planet" to draw attention to the impact of climate change on health, and to show how tackling climate change can be good for people’s health. The Prescription has been endorsed by leading health, medical and nursing groups around the world which represent millions of health professionals in more than 120 countries. Groups that have signed up include the Standing Committee of European Doctors, which represents medical associations in each of the 27 countries of the European Union, European Public Health Alliance, European Respiratory Society, American Public Health Association, World Federation of Public Health Associations, and International Council of Nurses amongst many others. (4)
During the international climate talks in Barcelona earlier this month, the UNFCCC negotiating team chose to explicitly recognise the need to include health protection in its draft. Amendments were also considered to highlight the health benefits of strict emission targets. (5)
Genon Jensen, Executive Director of HEAL says the amendments to the Resolution represent an important turning point. "With today’s vote, the European Parliament is acknowledging the increasing evidence and concern from the health and medical community on how climate change may be hazardous to people’s health. We hope that EU leaders will take this health message to Copenhagen to underline the necessity of an ambitious treaty. After all, what is good for climate is good for health," she says. (6)
Anja Leetz, who leads HCWH in Europe says: "Strong targets on emission reductions bring clear benefits for public health and reduce the costs of health care services in Europe and globally." (7)
HEAL and Health Care Without Harm will bring a high level international medical and health delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009. Daily briefings will be organised on the negotiations from a public health perspective.
Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.env-health.org Mobile phone: + 32 495 808732.
Anja Leetz, Executive Director, Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe), Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.noharm.org/europe Mobile phone: +32 484 786 058 or +49 175 732 0657
Health-related amendments to the EP Resolution on climate change voted on 25 November 2009.
- Amendment tabled Satu Hassi, Bas Eickhout On behalf of Greens/EFA Recital Ga new
Ga. Whereas a binding international framework leading to emission reductions on the necessary scale will also have large immediate co-benefits to global health, and that without such a framework progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals is at risk, and could be reversed;
- Amendment tabled by Frederique Ries, Corinne Lepage On behalf of ALDE Article 12
12. Emphasises that an agreement in Copenhagen could provide the necessary stimulus for a ’Sustainable New Deal’ boosting sustainable social and economic growth, promoting environmentally sustainable technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and securing new jobs and social cohesion in both developed and developing countries; notes also that due consideration needs to be given to the public health aspects of climate change; recalls the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change which demonstrates clear economic incentives for the international community to act as soon as possible to tackle climate change; recognises that upfront investments by the public sector in a sustainable energy infrastructure and in complementary research and development will reduce the social costs of climate change;
- Amendment tabled by Frederique Ries, Corinne Lepage On behalf of ALDE Recital D
D. whereas climate change may exacerbate the potential for conflicts over natural resources owing to shrinking arable land, growing water scarcity or deforestation, or due to climate-induced migration; whereas the potential impact on public health should also be taken into account,
Notes to journalists
1. European Parliament Resolution on Climate Change, see (not yet updated) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides...
2. See letter - http://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/L...
3. “The Lancet Series on Health and Climate Change: Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions” www.wellcometrustevents.org/... Lancet Press Office T) +44 (0) 20 7424 4949 E) firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Prescription for a Healthy Planet website at www.climateandhealthcare.org
5. See letter from HEAL/HCWH/Climate and Health Council on Barcelona negotiations: http://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/H...
6. Research by HEAL and others last year shows that savings on health costs achieved from a target of 30% rather than 20% in Europe may reach 25 billion Euros per year from 2020 onwards. See "The co-benefit to health of a strong EU climate change policy" published by HEAL, WWF and Climate Action Network Europe in December 2008 at http://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/C....
7. Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing climate change in health care settings, World Health Organization and Health Care Without Harm is available at http://www.who.int/globalchange/pub....
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) aims to raise awareness of how environmental protection improves health. It brings together more than 60 organizations working at the European level. Website: www.env-health.org
Health Care Without Harm is a global network of more than 470 organizations in 52 countries working to transform the health care sector so it is no longer a source of harm to people and the environment.
Last updated on 18 May 2011