On 4th November, United States President Donald Trump began the formal process to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. This decision puts people’s health, in the US and around the world, at greater risk from the devastating effects of climate change.
In a report published on 5th November1, 11,000 scientists warn that by 2030, the failure to reduce emissions will cost the world a minimum of $2 billion (£1.5 billion) per day in economic losses from weather events made worse by human-induced climate change. Moreover, weather events and patterns will hurt human health, livelihoods, food, and water, as well as biodiversity.
Jeni Miller, Global Climate and Health Association (GCHA) Director said: “At a time when the consensus of the world’s leading scientists is that we must accelerate action on climate change in order to keep temperatures safe for continued human health and well-being on earth, the U.S. decision is a major step backward.”
The consequences for people’s health around the world as a result of climate change are already very much with us, with devastating cyclones and hurricanes, wildfires and droughts, heatwaves, and vector borne disease spread delivering injury, illness, death, and dislocation.
The decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement also puts the US profoundly out of step. While much remains to be done, several countries are showing significant leadership on the issue, while many more are moving in the right direction.
Miller added: “The Global Climate and Health Alliance condemns the U.S. administration’s decision to withdraw, and elevates the calls from health organizations around the world for the urgent, effective, united global action on climate change that is essential to protecting people’s health.”
1. “Most countries aren’t hitting 2030 climate goals, and everyone will pay the price”, National Geographic, 5th November 2019.
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change is a member of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, a group of organisations across the world united by a vision is that threats to planetary health from climate change are minimised and in a way that health benefits are maximised.