More than 200 medical journals urge action on climate change rather than health risk

Global warming is affecting people’s health – and world leaders must tackle the climate crisis now because it cannot wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to end, the editors of more than 230 warned on Sunday evening. medical journals.

Why is this important: It is the first time that so many publications have come together to issue such a joint statement to world leaders, underlining the seriousness of the situation – with the Lancet and the British Medical Journal among those issuing the warning.

  • Ahead of November’s UN General Assembly and Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, newspapers warned: “The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep rising global temperature below 1.5°C and restoring nature. “

Threat level: “Health is already being undermined by rising global temperatures and the destruction of the natural world,” says the editorial, also published in the New England Journal of Medicinethe International Nursing Review, the Chinese Science Bulletin and the Revista de Saude Publica of Brazil.

  • “Despite the world’s necessary concern for COVID-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.”

To note : World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a report before the editorial was published that the “risks posed by climate change could eclipse those of a single disease”.

  • “We will end the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is no vaccine for the climate crisis,” Tedros added.
  • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last month that global warming could reach 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels by 2030.

State of play: The editorial reports that heat-related mortality among people over 65 has increased by more than 50% over the past 20 years.

  • Global warming has also impacted agricultural production, “hindering efforts to reduce undernutrition”, write the journal’s editors.

“Higher temperatures led to increased dehydration and loss of kidney function, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, mental health problems, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality.”

The bottom line: “The science is unequivocal: a global rise of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic health damage that will be impossible to reverse,” warns the editorial.

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