A health approach to climate change

Changing Environment

(European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017)

The world has more than 1.9 million medical students from over 190 countries. If all us health professionals and future health professionals team up to battle climate change, it would bring about not only a great change in the policies of the world but also the cultural and social norms of communities.

We need to acknowledge climate change as the largest threat and opportunity to global health in the 21st century, and call for human health to be placed at the centre of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) international negotiations where it will stand as an effective framework from which to implement a fair and ambitious plan of action following the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

In this, we seek to preserve a society which promotes equity, avoids future conflicts and paves the road towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs). There exists universal political, scientific and public health consensus that climate change is both men-made and occurring at unprecedented rates, posing a very significant threat to the health of global populations.

Disturbances in climate stability will severely harm the health of humans, animals and the environment through an increase in extreme weather events, natural disasters, floods and resulting diarrheal disease, degradation of arable land, nutritional impacts, mass migration, and violent conflict. Climate change will also play a greater role in the spread of infectious diseases by widening the areas of spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever by creating more favorable conditions for climate sensitive disease vectors.

Changes to the climate resulting in water scarcity and decreased sanitation alone will have devastating effects on public health systems in affected areas. Furthermore, extreme drought linked to climate change is creating conditions that contributed to civil instability. Therefore, climate change mitigation and adaptation represent a non-regret necessity that takes the form of basic public requirements and efforts towards the SDGs: promotion of healthy lifestyles; use of sustainable clean energy sources; guarantee of food security, water and sanitation; clean air; early warning systems; vector control and disaster risk reduction.

As health professionals and Future health professionals, our duty of care will include not only future patients, but communities and public health at local, national and global levels. The impact of climate change on health is a threat that we will see in our future scope of practice if the right measurements of prevention are not taken. As a people, we need to acknowledge the significant co-benefits of health mitigation strategies such as: developments in areas of transport, agriculture, electricity generation and household energy use.

What is required is Immediate and sustainable mitigation and adaptation action be taken on a local, national and global level to safeguard global public health and preserve our accomplishments over infectious diseases and towards health care access.The future costs associated with climate change must be shared fairly between nations, taking into account equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR), in the light of different national circumstances. Health must be placed at the centre of any international negotiations on climate change for a global deal. The international health community must actively engage in the debate and negotiation progress taking place under the UNFCCC.

Health professionals as individuals and their representative organizations must take an external advocacy role in encouraging their local governments, health and other relevant ministers to act in a way that reduces national emissions adopting the health in all policies approach and prepare for the future consequences of climate change on health.

All governments and nations need to realize that there is a great need to invest time, effort and finances into mechanisms to achieve measurable carbon reduction, create jobs and contribute to a more sustainable world.

We must meet an emissions trajectory consistent with a 1.5 degree long term goal and create a society wide transition to a carbon free economy, through the divestment of fossil fuels and the immediate withdrawal of fossil subsidies, in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable societies that are beneficial to human health, through country-specific emissions reduction targets, which make steady steps for the agreed global objective to be reached and adapted according to each nation’s capacity.

The IFMSA, World Health Organization, medical students, medical practitioners, healthcare providers and organizations representing the interests of current and future health professionals to need to take the lead in educating the public on the likely effects of climate change on health, as well as directly lobbying key stakeholders including governments, to take action on the issue. There is a great need to integrate climate change and its threat to health within the curricula of medical schools worldwide and into capacity building programs targeting health professionals from a multidisciplinary approach and further continue the initiative of the WHO Country profiles on climate and health, in collaboration between NMOs, governments and WHO.

In conclusion, science and justice demands of the global community a reduction of carbon emissions to levels which ensure the survival of our planet’s ecosystem and the protection of human health. We as an individual and as a people need to fulfil that demand to keep ourselves, our family and friends, and our planet, healthy and happy.

About the author

Sheharyar Zameer is a second year medical student at Army Medical College in Pakistan and the National Public Health Officer at the International Federation of Medical Students Association, Pakistan. He is a co-ordinator at Together We Can Foundation and a member of the International Organization for Progressive Global Collaborations. He is also a member of the college research society AURF and dramatics society AEDS. His special interests include Public Health, Trauma Medicine and Surgery.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What the Amazon rain forest tells us about globalization

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

3 strategies for Africa to thrive in this new era of globalization

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

Countries should focus on labour market policies to help refugees and improve coordinated actions to tackle illegal immigration

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

Human rights experts call for ‘paradigm shift’ on arbitrary detention in Qatar

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

Maduro ‘brings the truth’ about Venezuela to UN Assembly; says he is ready to meet US President Trump

Bold measures needed to protect cross-border and seasonal workers in EU, MEPs say

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

Coronavirus could worsen hunger in the developing world

Two rhythms and a sharpened pencil: how art can help us heal and make sense of the world

State aid: Commission invites comments on State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks

Approving most of EU’s accounts, EP requests new measures to protect EU spending

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

UN health agency spotlights stalled effort to close health divide across Europe, in new report

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

The issue of mental health for modern young doctors

How energy infrastructure is shaping geopolitics in East Asia

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

This tech company is aiming to plant 500 billion trees by 2060 – using drones

These are the regions where people have most faith in their schools

6 steps every country must take now to prevent coronavirus deaths: WHO Director-General

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

The Eurogroup+ is born to govern the EU Banking Union

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

25 years on from genocide against the Tutsi, UN Chief warns of ‘dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance’

How technology can help India breathe more easily

Why it’s good to turn your colleagues into friends

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work, says UN labour agency

Is it impossible to place the banks under control?

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

Commission steps up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

What can smallpox teach us about how we’ve managed COVID-19?

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. Виктор Родин says:

    “Mankind has three years left …” The shocking statement of the scientist about the end of the world leads to hysteria. Reto Knutti – Famous Swiss climatologist and professor of physics of Earth’s climate at the Institute of Atmospheric and Climatic Science, Zurich.
    Yes, indeed: “Mankind has three years left …” But no hysterics from this fact should be done.
    Warming is eliminated in 10 years by natural technologies, which it has already done at least twice:
    After the dinosaurs, who ate all the vegetation that they could get, polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and methane, and raised the temperature.
    The same after mammoths.
    The cost of restoring the planet’s climate is one trillion dollars.
    The yield from the elimination of warming is 2.4 -2.7 trillion dollars.
    In 2018, the cost of recovery will be two trillion dollars.
    In 2019, the situation on elimination of warming will change to 50-on-50.
    In 2020, we can only take advantage of the advice of the scientist – to prepare for the end of the world.
    Sincerely, creator of environmental programs, environmental engineer, Victor Rodin.
    — — —
    «Человечеству осталось три года…» Шокирующее заявление ученого о конце света доводит до истерики. Рето Кнутти (Reto Knutti) — Известный Швейцарский климатолог и профессор физики климата Земли в Институте атмосферной и климатической науки, Цюрих.
    Да, действительно: «Человечеству осталось три года…» Но никаких истерик из этого факта делать не следует.
    Потепление устраняется за 10 лет природными технологиями, которые это делали уже как минимум дважды:
    После динозавров, которые съели всю растительность, которую могли достать, загрязнили атмосферу углекислым газом и метаном, и подняли температуру.
    То же после мамонтов.
    Стоимость восстановления климата планеты – один триллион долларов.
    Доходность от устранения потепления – 2,4 -2,7 триллиона долларов.
    В 2018 году стоимость восстановления будет два триллиона долларов.
    В 2019 ситуация по устранению потепления перейдёт в режим 50-на-50.
    В 2020 мы можем только воспользоваться советом учёного – подготовиться к концу света.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s