More than 200 health journals around the world publish an editorial calling on leaders to take urgent action on climate change and protect health.
The BMJ said it was the first time that so many journals have come together to make the same statement, reflecting the gravity of the situation.
The editorial, which comes ahead of the UN General Assembly and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, states: “Ahead of these crucial meetings, we - the editors of health journals around the world - call for urgent action to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 ° C, stop the destruction of nature and protect health. "
Health is already being damaged by rising global temperatures and destruction of the natural world, a reality that healthcare professionals have been calling everyone's attention for decades.
With an increase of around + 1.1 ° C since the pre-industrial era, the consequences for human health are already significant. “The higher temperatures have led to an increase in dehydration and kidney problems, malignant skin tumors, tropical infections, mental problems, pregnancy complications, allergies and mortality, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity. » , Underlines this editorial published in 220 medical journals. Not to mention the decline in agricultural production slowing efforts against malnutrition.
The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5 ° C above the pre-industrial average and continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic damage to health and it will be impossible to reverse.
Despite the world's necessary concern over Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to reduce emissions quickly.
Reflecting the gravity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals around the world. “We are united in recognizing that only fundamental and equitable changes in societies will reverse our current trajectory. "He adds:" The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5 ° C and restore nature. "
"Urgent societal changes must be made which will lead to a fairer and healthier world."
" The risks of climate change could eclipse those of any disease. The Covid-19 pandemic will end, but there is no vaccine against the climate crisis " , commented the boss of the World Organization of the Health Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement, stressing that "every step taken to limit emissions and global warming brings us closer to a healthier and safer future".
"Better air quality alone would provide health improvements that easily offset the overall cost of reducing emissions," the authors say.
“As editors of health journals, we call on governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year the world finally changes course. "
BMJ Editor-in-Chief Dr Fiona Godlee and one of the editorial's co-authors said: “Healthcare professionals have been on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis and they are united to warn that going beyond 1.5 ° C and allowing the continued destruction of nature will lead to the next, much more deadly crisis. The richer countries must act faster and do more to support countries that are already suffering from higher temperatures. 2021 must be the year the world changes course - our health depends on it. "
Concerning precisely money, medical journals highlight the “unprecedented” sums that have been released to fight the pandemic. They ask that substantial funding be also granted for the protection of the planet and highlight the positive cascading effects.
Beyond money, they plead for a "fundamental change in the way our societies and economies are organized and in our way of life" : overhaul of transport systems, cities, production and distribution food, financial markets, health systems, "and more".
All the editors of medical journals report the same critical situation: "health is already impaired by the increase in global temperature and the destruction of nature"