More than 200 health journals have called for urgent action to address the climate crisis.

Wednesday, 8 September, 2021

This morning, 200 health journals worldwide simultaneously published an editorial urging world leaders to take immediate action to curb climate change, restore biodiversity, and protect public health.

The editorial, which was published ahead of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November, states that “we—the editors of health journals worldwide—call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1·5°C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.”

Global warming and environmental degradation have well-documented health impacts, including increases in cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality, tropical diseases, allergies, and adverse mental health outcomes. We have a responsibility as health professionals to hold international leaders accountable and to continue educating the public about the health implications of the climate crisis.

Rachel Stancliffe, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare said:

“This letter is hugely important because it clearly puts health centre stage in the climate crisis. It highlights the role that healthcare professionals can have in pushing our leaders to act urgently and also in changing clinical practice for a sustainable future.”

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) has spent the last 14 years working with all stakeholders in the health system on ways to transform clinical practice. CSH is well positioned to support health professionals in this effort, through sustainable healthcare courses, sustainable fellowship opportunities, and open access resources.

Frances Mortimer, Medical Director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare said:

“Decarbonising our health systems is an essential part of decarbonising our society as a whole, and health professionals have a critical role to play in changing clinical practice to be more preventative, person-centred, lean and low carbon. Linking sustainability with healthcare improvement (SusQI) can help staff to start taking action today."

The full editorial which has been coordinated by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change is available, here. Along with this, a major letter from health professionals to governments at COP26 has been drafted, and you can sign it by clicking here.