Public Policy Projects (PPP) have launched their first climate change report, The climate crisis and its health impacts, calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise the narrow disease-specific definition of public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) to include climate change.  

https://publicpolicyprojects.com/news/climate-change-public-health-emergency/

The report, chaired by former Deputy Chair of PPP’s Environment Pillar and current Deputy Mayor of London Seb Dance, and authored by PPP Policy Analyst Francesco Tamilia, showcases the devastating impacts of climate change on people’s health.

At the report’s launch on 29 March several climate and health experts came together to address how climate change impacts human health, what can be done to prevent or mitigate such impacts and why it’s important to prioritise public health in the climate debate.

While the health impacts of climate change continue to unfold, PPP’s report, The climate crisis and its health impacts, argues that the relationship between climate change and health is still widely underappreciated by policymakers and the public.

Speaking at the report launch, Dr Claus Runge, Senior VP, Public Affairs and Sustainability at Bayer, discussed the role of private and public industries in the climate crisis. He said: “What we are seeing is increasing numbers of investors rewarding companies following a very sold ESG path. Industries need to take action or knock-on effects will cause significant disruptions on the globe.”

The report illustrates the actions that can be taken to remedy this health crisis. It outlines a series of solutions that governments and policymakers can implement to mitigate the health consequences of climate change.

Dr Marina Romanello, Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown and speaker at the PPP report launch said: “Across all of the indicators where we are tracking the health impacts of climate change, we are seeing things get rapidly worse. Every corner of the world, every country is seeing the climate impact on public health.

We know the health impacts of climate change and the enormous opportunities of climate change actions. Whether or not we respond to climate change is no longer a technical, economic, or financial question. It is now entirely a political one.”

The PPP report also calls for national governments to develop effective strategies, as part of UNFCCC’s National Adaptation Plans (NAP), to identify, address and review the health impacts of climate change in their countries. NAPs should also place a greater focus on health and support national governments with the development of their climate- and health-related plans.

Speaking at the report launch, Elaine Mulcahy, Director UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, addressed the effect of climate change on the health workforce: “Healthcare professionals are seeing more people suffering the consequences of climate change…This is coming at a time when hospitals are stressed beyond capacity and the workforce is extremely exhausted.

“There is a growing burden that is getting more and more every year because of climate change, and this is going to continue to get worse if action is not taken.”

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • WHO should consider revising the narrow disease-specific definition of public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) to include climate change
  • UNFCCC’s National Adaptation Plans (NAP) should give a greater focus to health and support national governments with the development of their climate- and health-related plans
  • Medical schools should include climate change and its corresponding health impacts in the medical curricula

If you would like to get involved in PPP’s climate series then please contact Francesco Tamilia at francesco.tamilia@publicpolicyprojects.com

Find the video recording of the session here.

Find the published report here.