“We have a serious addiction problem. Fossil fuels are so integral to our modern world that we equate their use with our “way of life,” writes Dr. Elaine Blacklock in a recent opinion piece in the National Observer. Elaine is a pediatrician and science writer, actively involved with educating medical learners about the climate-health emergency. While health professionals are currently focused on the COVID crisis, many view the pandemic as the precursor of a much deadlier climate-induced public health crisis.
Health Professionals Step Up on Climate
In early September, some 200 health journals worldwide published an editorial “calling on leaders to take emergency action on climate change and to protect health,” reported The Guardian.
Commenting on the editorial, Blacklock says that “its authors warn that climate change and biodiversity loss are a human health emergency that can’t wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass. Human civilization needs to immediately and drastically start reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The time for obstinacy and waffling is long gone.” In a tweet she uses a smoking analogy to highlight the public health crisis climate change will bring.
There’s nothing like a good smoking analogy!
Thanks to @NatObserver for publishing my editorial yesterday. @MarcSerreMP @JustinTrudeau @fordnation
@CMA_Docs @OntariosDoctors @theNOSMhttps://t.co/9qTys7yaFc
— Elaine Blacklock M.D. (@KidsClimateDoc) October 5, 2021
Dr Fiona Godlee, one of the authors of the Editorial said “Health professionals have been on the frontline of the covid-19 crisis and they are united in warning that going above 1.5C and allowing the continued destruction of nature will bring the next, far deadlier crisis. Wealthier nations must act faster and do more to support those countries already suffering under higher temperatures. 2021 has to be the year the world changes course — our health depends on it.”
The Editorial says:
We’ve built our nation on fossil fuel assumptions and habits. Our energy policies are ruled by our addiction. — Elaine Blacklock
“Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.”
“The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C and to restore nature.”
“Wealthier nations must act faster and do more to support those countries already suffering under higher temperatures. 2021 has to be the year the world changes course – our health depends on it.”
“We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said “The risks posed by climate change could dwarf those of any single disease. The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report shows that every fraction of a degree hotter endangers our health and future. Similarly, every action taken to limit emissions and warming brings us closer to a healthier and safer future.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.