A group of UK health professionals are calling on Government to amplify its response to climate change, and to bring in measures that reduce our green house gas emissions to zero by 2030.
In a letter published today by both the BMJ and The Lancet, that describes climate breakdown as ‘the greatest crisis we have ever faced’, doctors implore the UK government to set an example to the world by committing to becoming carbon zero twenty years sooner than proposed in November 2018 by European Unionclimate change chief commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
It comes just eight weeks after the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) wrote to the Prime Minister calling for zero carbon emissions before 2050.
The letter is co-signed by a number of eminent medical professionals including Sir Ian Gilmore, BMJ Editor in Chief Dr Fiona Godlee, the Climate Council’s Dr Robin Stott, Lancet Countdown Director Dr Nick Watts, Scientific Advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on air pollution Robin Russell-Jones and 23 others.
It reiterates the point made by UKHACC last November, that the steps required to stop climate breakdown will result in cleaner and more efficient transport, more walking and cycling, healthier and more sustainable diets and insulated homes, which will improve the physical and mental health of our society and deliver economic and social benefits.
Citing the introduction of the world’s first Climate Change Act in 2008 by the UK Parliament as a recent example of how cross-party cooperation can provide necessary powerful leadership when required, it commends government for accepting advice from the Committee on Climate Change on how to respond. Going on to stress the unparalleled nature of the threat of climate change, it calls on government and parliamentarians to legislate urgently for the UK to become carbon (net) zero by 2030 and to mobilise a concerted effort by all factions of society to stave off the catastrophe that will result from it if action is not taken.
Led by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, some 650,000 UK doctors, nurses and scientists are now increasingly vocal on the health impacts of global warming. The Alliance launched an all-member report about the links between climate change and air pollution last October and made recommendations to Government on measures to reduce our toxic air problem for the good of public health and well-being.
UK Health Alliance on Climate Change Director, Nicky Philpott said:
“The importance to act on climate change can’t be stressed strongly enough. Climate change is here and we are already seeing the effects on the health of our young people, the elderly and other vulnerable groups. Health professionals are increasingly aware of the vital role they must play in acting on climate change – both in treating those affected by it, in educating the public and in lobbying for action by policy makers.
“We simply don’t have time to procrastinate over this. Policies need to be introduced now that will reduce the use of fossil fuels, clean up our air and support active and healthy lifestyle choices, which in turn will protect our societies and our planet.”