Sharm El-Sheikh, 11 November 2022:- As the COP27 Climate Summit’s ‘Decarbonisation Day’ closes in Egypt, the Global Climate and Health Alliance denounced the fossil fuel industry’s push for greater oil and gas development, and reiterated the worldwide health community’s demand for a rapid and just phase out of all fossil fuels.
Today, at the midpoint of COP27, several African governments, including Egypt as the host of COP27, and COP28 host, the United Arab Emirates, expressed support for continued extraction of fossil fuels, specifically gas, citing slow transitions to renewable energy by high income countries as one reason for expanding extraction . Meanwhile African climate activists have called for an end to fossil fuel expansion on the continent .
“The call for greater oil and gas production is completely out of step with climate science and health evidence”, said Dr Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “Presented as a necessity for development, new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure would instead simply lock a new generation into these dirty fuels, at a time when clean energy is viable and ready to be scaled. The rightful need of people in low and middle income countries for access to energy – for clean cooking, for healthcare, for education, for jobs, and many other key determinants of health – must not bring with it the health costs associated with fossil fuels”.
“Meanwhile, transitioning to renewable energy sources such as local solar grids not only reduce the health risks of climate change and air pollution but also promote energy sovereignty. It is vital that high income countries provide financial support for the transition in low and middle income countries”, added Miller.
“Governments must commit to a deadline for full and just fossil fuel phase out as a public health imperative, and define how this will be delivered through the Mitigation Work Program”, said Jess Beagley, Policy Lead at the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “Only a full phase out of fossil fuels will deliver the health benefits of cleaner air and protect people from harm to their health caused by the extraction, transport and processing and burning of oil, gas and coal.”
In September 20222, the Global Climate and Health Alliance, which brings together 130+ health organisations from around the word to tackle climate change and to protect and promote public health, joined over 200 health organizations in calling on governments to urgently develop and implement a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty to end global dependence on fossil fuels in order to protect the health of people around the world .
Fossil fuel combustion drives climate change, which has significant health impacts ranging from heat exhaustion and dehydration, to increased vector-borne diseases, to malnutrition, to the myriad impacts of extreme weather events. It is also the primary driver of air pollution, which is responsible for over seven million premature deaths per year .
“At COP26, initial language on the phase out of all fossil fuels was watered down to refer only to phase down of unabated coal”, said Beagley. “The phase out of all fossil fuels, and of fossil fuel subsidies, is a public health imperative.”
“Oil and gas also contribute to climate change, and health impacts from their extraction and use. Neither can be considered a ‘bridging fuel’. It is however vital that developing nations in Africa and around the world are not inhibited from developing on account of inadequate levels of climate finance from developed countries. Some such finance is being disbursed via Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JET-Ps), specifically to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.” concluded Beagley.
For interviews with health professionals during COP27, contact Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, Global Climate and Health Alliance, +34 691 826 764 (Europe) – [email protected] is checked regularly.
- COP27 Climate and Health Networking Reception. A dinner reception to connect the global climate and health community at COP27, Sat, Nov 12, 2022 at 5:30 PM.
- Climate Resilient and Just Health Systems in Africa, Tue, November 15, 2:00pm – 3:15pm, WHO Pavilion, AMREF, ATACH, UK
- 18th Nov – 08:30 – 09:30, SDG Pavilion – A Just Energy Transition for a healthy fossil free world, led by Health and Climate Network (HCN) a cross sectoral network hosted by GCHA, with SLOCAT Partnership for Sustainable Transport and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Registration for online access here.
- WHO 27 Health Pavilion: WHO in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and partners will host the Health Pavilion at the COP27 UN Climate Conference, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6 to 18 November, 2022.
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The Global Climate and Health Alliance is the leading global convenor of health professional and health civil society organizations addressing climate change. We are a consortium of health organizations from around the world united by a shared vision of an equitable, sustainable future, in which the health impacts of climate change are minimized, and the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation are maximised.
Find out more: http://climateandhealthalliance.org/about/