Health professionals representing 46.3M health professionals from 135 countries around the world published an Open Letter to COP 28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber & all national leaders demanding that “countries commit to an accelerated, just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels as the decisive path to health for all” in order to safeguard people’s health.
The open letter unites a diverse range of medical professionals including doctors, nurses, researchers, practitioners and health advocates, and is signed by some of the largest health networks in the world, including World Medical Association, World Federation of Public Health Association and International Council of Nurses.
Wherever they are based in the world, the health community is seeing a sharp increase in respiratory problems and related diseases as a result of air pollution and fossil fuel production. To protect people’s health, the signatories emphasise that:
- A full and rapid phase-out of fossil fuels is the most significant way to address health impacts of climate change
- An energy transition must be just and equitable for all
- The letter stresses that Carbon Capture and Storage must not distract from the imperative of eliminating fossil fuels.
Without ambitious climate action, healthcare systems and workers will bear insurmountable burdens, undermining prospects for a safe, fair, and just future in the face of climate change.
Here at the GCHA, we call on our community around the world to join us in making our voices heard ahead of COP28.
As a health professional, you can add your name directly to the letter, or please do help us share this letter with your networks and decision makers.
Dr. Lujain Alqodmani, President, World Medical Association
“As representatives of the global medical community, we fully support this letter. We are already seeing the impacts of the climate crisis on our health – heat stress, malnutrition, anxiety, vector-borne diseases, respiratory illnesses due to dirty air to name a few. Extreme weather events have another far reaching impact- hospitals and healthcare centres that are meant to provide cure and relief are often first in the line of fire, with access and infrastructure getting hit. Our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels will only aggravate this further. This is why we think that a rapid transition to clean and equitable forms of energy is a win-win on all fronts.”
Prof. Luis Eugenio de Souza, President, World Federation for Public Health Associations
To protect public health from climate change, the health sector must become a leading voice for a rapid, just, and equitable transition away from fossil fuels and toward accessible, affordable, clean, renewable and healthy energy. If we cannot rapidly kick civilization’s fossil fuel addiction, many of our efforts at health development will be in vain. The health sector cannot adapt its way out of the climate crisis.
Dr. Pam Cipriano, President, International Council of Nurses
“When disaster strikes, hospitals and health care centres are often at the forefront. They are also the epicenter of addressing the escalating and noxious effects of climate change that are robbing people of their health. We are seeing more people come into our health care centres, hospitals and clinics complaining of heat exhaustion, respiratory issues and allergies, second hand smoke exposure among other things. We firmly believe that COP28 is an opportunity to adopt unified solutions and take action to implement mitigation and adaptation policies that also protect our health. This means phasing out “dirty energy” like coal, oil and gas that have negative impacts on health and the environment and prioritising clean energy sources. We must invest in a healthy and climate-safe future–the time to act on this is now.”