We have written an open letter to the new Prime Minister Liz Truss highlighting our deep concerns about the impact climate change is having on human health. We urge her, at this critical time, to demonstrate the leadership the world needs in taking action to minimise the harm to human life, saying: “We are in the midst of a multi-faceted climate, health and energy crisis that needs decisive and principled leadership. We urge you to take the lead in taking the bold action needed to make the fundamental changes to how our societies and economies are organised and how we live.”

In the letter we call for leadership from the top to step up the work required to deliver the Government’s net zero strategy. We call for more acceptable air pollution targets than currently proposed; we call for a reduction – not an expansion – in fossil fuels with greater investment in renewable energies and a focused effort to reduce fuel consumption through a programme of retrofitting and insulating homes; we call for the UK to meet its commitments in funding and support to low- and middle- income countries.

Through the collective voice of members of the Alliance, we will continue to advocate for just responses to the climate and ecological crisis and empower people to act.


Fossil Free 4 Health

Letter from health

We have joined with more than 1400 health professionals and 200 health organisations from around the world who have called on governments to urgently develop and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty that lays out a legally binding global plan to phase out fossil fuel use in order to protect the health of people around the world. Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus has said: “The modern addiction to fossil fuels is not just an act of environmental vandalism. From the health perspective, it is an act of self-sabotage.” Comparable to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an evidence-based international agreement to control a category of substances well known to be harmful to human health: coal, oil and gas. The letter from health follows calls from other groups including nobel laureates, cities and faith organisations across the world. Health professionals and organisations who have not yet signed the letter can still do so here: https://fossilfueltreaty.org/health-letter

Why we need a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty

Chair of UKHACC, Richard Smith, has co-authored an article published in Lancet Planetary Health outlining why we need a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. The article, which is co-authored with colleagues based in Canada, Egypt, UK and US, says that globally, plans currently exist to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5C. They explain how the fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty would work as a mechanism to effectively and equitably ensure safer amounts of fossil fuels stay in the ground.

The voice of health workers in fossil fuel phase out

On Wednesday 21 September, join us for an online lunchtime discussion how to get involved in ensuring the health voice is heard in calls for fossil fuel phase out with an incredible panel of speakers:

  • Marina Romanello from the Lancet Countdown will outline the health harms of fossil fuel dependence and the case for the just phase out
  • Shweta Narayan from Healthcare Without Harm will explain how the health voice can act as a powerful link between communities and policy makers
  • Jeni Miller from the Global Climate and Health Alliance, who has played a leading role in the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty letter from health will speak about the letter, its impact and how you can support

Presentations will be followed by Q&A. Please join if you can. Register here


News

Climate and Health Scorecard

The first peer-reviewed study to compare the climate credentials of UK health organisations – the Climate Change and Health Scorecard – was recently published in the Journal of Climate Change and Health. The report, which involved a survey of many of members of UKHACC, was established to inform future strategy and to serve as a call to action for the health community across four domains: internal operations, education and training, divestment, and advocacy.

Congratulations to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of General Practitioners were the three highest scoring institutions. RCPCH and RCPsych recently shared their strategies and action plans for embedding sustainability at one of our lunchtime sessions. A recording and presentation slides from the session can be accessed here.

We look forward to welcoming the authors of the scorecard report to our Council meeting at the end of this month to discuss key learning, opportunities and actions our members can take.


Get involved

Join the UK’s biggest celebration of action to tackle climate change and protect nature

Great Big Green Week is coordinated by The Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change. They are a group of over 140 organisations — including the National Trust, Women’s Institute, Oxfam, and RSPB — 22 million voices strong.

The theme of this year’s Great Big Green week will be our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the next generation. We know that when we come together and work with one another in our villages and cities, our town halls, our community centres, and our places of worship, we can make meaningful changes.

You can get involved in all sorts of ways including by putting on an event yourself, encouraging your communities to participate, organising public-facing activities, promotions, promoting existing activity and sharing our content through your own channels in the lead up to, and during, the week itself. You might want to participate in Good News Day on Monday 26th September to celebrate the work you are doing to protect nature and our environment.


COP27

With just over seven weeks until the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference begins in Egypt, we wanted to update you on a number of projects and campaigns that we are involved with over the coming weeks. Please do get involved, promote and support however you can. It is essential that the voice from all different areas of health is heard.

22 SEPTEMBER | Walk2COP27 Townhall and walk

Walk2COP27 launch townhall event with a health theme, taking place at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. Details about the event, including registration in person and online can be accessed here: https://www.walk2cop27.com/thejourney/scotland-townhall

After the town hall, health professionals working in Scotland are invited to join us on a 4 mile walk from the College on St Vincent Street to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, via the Clyde walkway passing the host venue for COP26. The walk will leave the College at 15.00. Trees will be planted by the Jane Goodall Institute for kilometres travelled and participants will be invited to share their experiences on an online Clubhouse forum. Sign up to join the walk here and join the RCPSG team when prompted.

13 OCTOBER | Ride for Their Lives

UKHACC member organisations will participate in an 11 mile cycle in London, which will be followed by a seminar of participants to capture key learning and messages from the day. The cycle and discussion will be recorded on video so that highlights of the discussions can be shared after the event. Details about the ride, including a map of the route can be accessed here.

19 OCTOBER | Editorial from African editors

We have been working with 15 health journal editors across Africa to produce an editorial calling on wealthy nations to step up support for Africa and vulnerable countries in addressing past, present and future impacts of climate change. Look out for this in October and help to spread this important message.

(tbc) OCTOBER  | Lancet Countdown UK Policy Briefing – publication and launch

We have been working with the Royal College of Physicians, British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Psychiatrists to produce the 2022 Lancet Countdown UK policy briefing, which makes evidence-based recommendations for action building on the Lancet Countdown indicators. Please look out for this over the coming weeks.


Courses and Events

UKHACC IN CONVERSATION LUNCHTIME SESSIONS

A number of sessions are open for registration in our popular lunchtime sessions. These events are held online from 12.00-13.30 on the dates indicated below. Session involve presentations by leading experts followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

21 September 2022 | The voice of health workers in fossil fuel phase out

Highlighting the important role of health professionals in leading calls for a rapid phase out fossil fuels and just transition to renewables. The panel includes Marina Romanello, Lancet Countdown; Shweta Narayam, Healthcare Without Harm. Click here to register.

19 October 2022 | Reducing the carbon footprint of end of life care

This lunchtime session will discuss the carbon footprint of end of life care and why a systems approach to sustainability is needed. The panel includes Richard Smith, Chair UKHACC; Max Watson, ECHO Programme Director; Jane Blazeby, University of Bristol. Click here to register.

24 August 2022 | Embedding sustainability in governance, structure and culture

Focusing on strategies for embedding sustainability in governance, structure and culture with examples and case studies. The panel includes Richard Smith, Chair UKHACC; Adrian James, President RCPsych; Liz Marder, Treasurer RCPCH. Click here to register

14 December 2022 | How the health community can lead in the transition to more sustainable diets

What role do health professionals play in the transition to more sustainable diets, with case studies and survey outcomes. The panel includes Laura Freeman and Shireen Kassam, Plant-Based Health Professionals; Kristin Bash, Faculty of Public Health; Laura-Jane Freeman, King’s College Hospital. Registration opening soon.

18 January 2023 | Progress towards a net zero health service in the UK

Health leaders from the England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will provide an update on current plans and progress towards delivering a net zero health service. The panel includes Marc Davies, Public Health Wales; Gregor Smith, CMO Scotland; Nick Watts, Greener NHS England. Registration opening soon.

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Faculty of Public Health Climate and Health Conference

22 September | online

Conference involving international speakers and abstract presentations from public health professionals in the UK. Agenda to be confirmed. Book here.

Sustainability Nursing Conference: Making greener nursing and midwifery practice a reality

11 October | 9.15-15.30 (online, free, 6 CPD)

Joint Royal College of Nursing and NHS conference building on the aspirations of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on raising awareness of the impact of care provision on greenhouse gas emissions and exploring opportunities the challenge presents to improve health and care services. Book here

President’s Conference: Sustainability in Healthcare

16 November | 9.00-17.00 (hybrid, 6 CPD)

An in-depth look at sustainability in healthcare and the impact of climate change on health and healthcare delivery with informative, thought provoking discussions, international perspectives and ideas to take forward on a personal and institutional level. Book here

Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Joint Public Health Conference

30 November | 10.00-16.00 (online)

The 2022 Joint North South Public Health Conference will focus on how the global climate crisis is impacting on health. Speakers include Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government; Dr Maria Neira, World Health Organisation; Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer, NHS England; Professor John Barry, Queen’s University Belfast; and Dr Jenny Mack, Institute of Public Health. Book here.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Courses

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare offers a number of opportunities for learning through short courses, foundation-level courses, and technical courses including carbon footprinting for healthcare, sustainability in quality improvement and teaching sustainable quality improvement. Please check out the website to see what’s available.


New resources

Plant based nutrition in clinical practice

Plant-Based Nutrition in Clinical Practice is an evidence-based, edited book aimed at health professionals and provides an up-to-date review of the uses, benefits and practical application of a plant-based diet in clinical practice, taking both a holistic and a systems-based approach. One of the editors, Shireen Kassam who is founder and director of Plant-Based Health Professionals has written about her journey to authoring the book.

The state of global air quality funding 2022

This report by Clean Air Fund is the only global snapshot of clean air funding from donor governments and philanthropic foundations. Key findings showed that only 0.5% of international developing funding is spent on air pollution and 36 times more money went to fossil fuel-prolonging projects in Africa than clean air.


Reports, articles and videos

We’ve pulled together a list of recent reports, articles and videos that are worth reading, watching and sharing.

This recent publication provides evidence of the associations between nature connection and wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour and says that urban planners and policy makers should consider access to nature for residents.

In this article in the BMJ by Richard Smith on why medicine’s neglect of air pollution reflects a wider failure

This BBC article reports on a University of Oxford study that says the falling cost of renewables means it is good economic sense to go green now.

In this article, BMJ editor Kamran Abassi says there is a challenge for academia to release itself from the scientific grip of big oil.

In this Guardian commentary, Helena Bennett, Head of Climate Policy at Green Alliance, says that government investment should be targeted at cutting bills with a properly funded programme of rapid insulation.

A report coordinated by the World Meteorological Association says that without more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be increasingly devastating.

This BBC report covers new research that showed how air pollution leads to cancer.


Please share

Please feel free to forward this newsletter onto anyone you think might be interested. Anyone can sign up to receive this newsletter by clicking this link: https://action.ukhealthalliance.org/page/69209/subscribe/1

If you’ve got information about resources, campaigns, or events you would like to be included in the next edition, please send them to elaine.mulcahy@ukhealthalliance.org . The next bulletin will be published on 14 October 2022.