Larry Luxner, Devex, 10 January 2023:

“Absolutely zero progress was made [at COP27] on a commitment to fully phase out fossil fuels, and without tackling the major root cause of the climate crisis, we cannot fully protect health,” said Jeni Miller, executive director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “There wasn’t any progress made on that. They just repeated the same language as at COP 26.”

Miller, interviewed by phone from San Francisco, said her 12-year-old alliance comprises 130 health professional associations, NGOs, and development agencies focused on health. In 2021, it issued a “Healthy Climate Prescription” letter endorsed by over 600 organizations representing 46 million health care workers demanding urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Every country is now seeing some sort of impact from climate change,”

“[WHO] has made climate change a priority over the last couple of years,” Miller said. “WHO’s mandate comes from world governments and ministries of health. But for it to take a stronger position and be more effective, it needs resources and the mandates to keep doing that. I would love to see health ministries adopt a resolution that really gives WHO that mandate.”

While COP 27 didn’t mention phasing out oil or gas, delegates did finally hammer out an agreement to establish a so-called loss and damage fund for high-income nations to compensate vulnerable, low-income countries that did little to cause the climate crisis but are bearing the brunt of its effects.

“This was a non-starter for many years, and finally at COP 27, they committed to establishing a fund. This is huge for people’s health,” said Miller, though no set amount for the fund has been determined.

Devex: Climate change’s toll on global health increasingly getting attention