We were delighted to read your recent editorial on global warming and fully support the call to action for the medical community.
As clinicians we are taught to value evidence based interventions that benefit health and wellbeing. We look for the causes of disease and aim to change behaviour to improve outcomes. We hold a position of respect in the community and as a collective have a powerful voice.
Interesting isn’t it that despite this, when it comes to the most important health issues of our generation, we are barely whispering?
Human health is entirely dependent on the environment to provide us with air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink in a habitable climate.
The problem is that we are destroying the Earths ability to support human life. Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution are beginning to threaten our very survival.
As you rightly say, despite much hype, the UN climate summit, the Kyoto agreement, the Paris agreement have achieved little. Global emissions have risen year on year and stand at least 60% higher than in 1990.
Make no mistake, we are heading for at least 1.5oC of warming by the 2030’s and, unless our current trajectory changes, significantly more by the end of the century. This won’t just mean we’ll see more videos of emaciated polar bears and that it will be hotter in the Summer – it will mean famine, as crops fail, massive migrations of people, fleeing uninhabitable regions, and war over dwindling resources. Looking beyond the next thirty years gives even more cause for concern. According to a 2012 report by the World Bank, “We are currently on track for 4o warming by 2100. There is no certainty that adaptation to a 4o world is possible.” Surely with this level of threat we should be demanding urgent action from our leaders?
What can you do? The answer is – everything. We believe it is our duty as doctors to coordinate high level sustained lobbying of our governments and industries to address these issues. We are some of the most trusted voices in society and have more power than we think. So we have the ability to change the future if we have the will.
Read more at the BMJ