Wednesday, 16 September 2009

What is good for the climate is good for health

One news item the Ministry of Truth (aka the BBC) is not headlining today, is the call by medical chiefs in the UK, Ireland and around the world for doctors to put pressure on politicians meeting in Copenhagen in December to secure a new global deal on cutting emissions (source

The heads of the Royal Colleges said doctors should demand world leaders listen to the scientific evidence of climate change and implement strategies to tackle emissions that will benefit the health of people around the globe.

A failure to negotiate a strong deal will have "catastrophic" results, with those in poorest countries hit hardest by the impacts on health of drought and pressure on water resources, storms, floods and conflict.

But, "what's good for the climate is good for health", the editorial by Lord Michael Jay of medical charity Merlin and Professor Michael Marmot, director of the International Institute for Society and Health, said "The measures needed to combat climate change coincide with those needed to ensure a healthier population and reduce the burden on health services."

"A low carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon diet - especially eating less meat - and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease."

A successful outcome at Copenhagen "is vital for our future as a species and for our civilisation", whilst failure to agree radical reductions in emissions would spell "a global health catastrophe", they warned.

Dr Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the BMJ, said: "Politicians may be scared to push for radical reductions in emissions because some of the necessary changes to the way we live won't please voters.” I think she under estimates the concerns of voters, but she continues:

"Doctors are under no such constraint. On the contrary we have a responsibility as health professionals to warn people how bad things are likely to get if we don't act now. The good news is that we have a positive message - that what is good for the climate is good for health."

Nuf said!

Leslie Rowe 16/9/09

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