Maxine Joselow, The Washington Post, Climate 202 Newsletter, 22 November 2021: Washington Post: COP26 finally framed climate change as a public health issue, experts say
As the dust settles on the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, health professionals are finally feeling acknowledged by the global climate community.
Miller said health professionals urged world leaders in Glasgow to meet the more ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris agreement: limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “The science is clear that warming greater than that could be catastrophic for people’s health, and that every tenth of a degree averted matters,” she said.
Miller also noted that burning fossil fuels — a primary driver of climate change — releases air pollutants that can trigger asthma and other respiratory conditions. Fine-particle pollution from burning fossil fuels causes roughly 4 million people to die prematurely each year, research shows.
“Fossil fuels are killing us,” Miller said, adding that the science supports setting “clear targets for phasing out coal, the worst offender.”
“We need to make sure that health has an even more prominent stage at COP27,” said Renee Salas, an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, “and that it’s actually incorporated throughout discussions.”