Reuters 23.6.2015 Climate change health risk "medical emergency", experts warn. For full report: Lancet report Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health.
May 2015: World Medical Association urges doctors to advise their governments (this year 2015) that climate change is the greatest global health challenge of the 21st century.
There is a simple, most urgent intervention that national medical and health organizations can make for the 30 Nov 2015 UN Paris Climate Conference.
It is to
Both of these measures are included as two of many options in the very large negotiating text for the Paris Climate Conference.
The charts below show conclusively that the world is in an extremely grave state of climate change planetary emergency.
A specific, simple emergency intervention to save our future for world medical and health organizations
Today, the only climate or energy plan that we have is suicidal.
Atmospheric greenhouse gases are increasing faster than ever, at an unprecedented rate (see Our Climate).
Atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs)
The series of GHG graphs above shows our dire emergency situation in 2015. Today's atmospheric GHGs are far above their 800,000 year maximum, have abruptly increased from 1900, and are still accelerating.
National medical and health organizations can make a great difference by writing to their national governments.
We would, of course, like all medical and health organizations to declare the global climate change and ocean acidification planetary emergency.
The emergency is all the more more dire because GHG emissions are at record highs, and there are no international policy plans in place to change this. Below is the last EU report on emissions (by their source) and the US EPA record of global emissions (by gas).
Climate change is set to inflict "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly (IPCC statement Lima UN climate conference 2014).
Yet the World Medical Association, in urging governments to act, noted that the December 2014 COP20 negotiations in Lima, Peru made little progress. "As negotiators look toward Paris, it is imperative that governments commit to addressing the devastating health implications of unmitigated climate change," said Dr. Haikerwal, Chair of the WMA Council.
"Declare global climate change a global public health emergency"
1 Oct 2014 BMJ to WHO
"Climate change & the carbon-intensive economy are responsible for 5 million deaths each year"
DARA Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2012
The situation for our future is now critical.
We must declare the planetary climate change emergency.
We must prepare for the worst ever environmental and population health calamity — of unprecedented proportions.
Many warnings have been issued, but it is going to take enormous pressure to persuade governments, intent on supporting further fossil fuel energy expansion, that an emergency response is imperative.
"Staying above 350 ppm CO2 for long risks irreversible
catastrophic effects." (We are now over 395 ppm.)
— James Hansen in Target Atmospheric CO2, 2009 [pdf]
"Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century."
— Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission, 2009 in Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change
"Human-induced climate change requires urgent action."
— American Geophysical Union revised global climate change statement, August 2013
"In the face of an absolutely unprecedented emergency, society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization."
— Blue Planet Laureates, February 2012 to Rio+20
LEVEL OF THE PLANETARY EMERGENCY
Latest Must-Know Climate Change Emergency News
"The last decade was the hottest on record. 2012 was the hottest year for the USA. With the exception of 1988, the nine warmest years in the 132-year global weather record have all occurred since the year 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranked as the hottest."
— NOAA, State of the Climate in 2012, 2013
The world's best Northern Hemisphere food-producing regions have experienced episodic severe heat, drought and extreme weather events that have damaged crops.
"In most countries there is a discernible reduction in crop yield trends due to climate change."
— D. Lobell et al, in Science, May 2011
All Arctic carbon feedbacks are now kicking in. Carbon feedbacks are, by definition, the most dangerous effect of global warming because they boost global warming further. The Arctic contains massive vulnerable pools of carbon.
"Global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw significant regions of permafrost." Siberian permafrost has a tipping point of a 1.5ºC global warming.
— A. Vaks et al, in Science, February 2013
East Siberian shelf sub seafloor frozen solid methane gas hydrate is venting to the atmosphere and is capable of "causing a considerable and even catastrophic warming on the Earth."
— Sergienko et al, in Oceanology, March 2012
According to Ramanathan and Feng (2008), today's temperature increase commitment is 2.4ºC, which is three times today's global warming of 0.8ºC.
Analyses by the Climate Interactive Scoreboard and Climate Action Tracker show that current national "pledges" to cut emissions commit the world to a 4ºC temperature increase by 2100, which is a commitment of 7ºC over the next few hundred years (due to inertia of the ocean heat lag).
There is still no formal acknowledgement of the climate change emergency or that the world is beyond dangerous interference with the climate system (1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). The latest UN climate conferences have led only to the Copenhagen Accord, which includes various national emissions reduction "pledges" but no binding commitments, and no agreement on any limits other than the "disastrous" (James Hansen, 2008) 1996 EU policy target of 2°C for global temperature increase.
"The potential for runaway greenhouse warming is real and has never been more clear."
— UNEP Year Book, 2009
Global climate change and other ongoing persistent global environmental problems "threaten humanity's very survival.... The need couldn't be more urgent ... to act now to safeguard our own survival and that of future generations."
— UNEP GEO-4, 2007
"Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk."
— Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission, in Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change [pdf]
"Unless decisive action is taken now, the world will face global public health and environmental catastrophe. We believe that the health and healthcare community can, and must, spearhead a major movement for change."
— The Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom
"If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."
— Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007
We are on track for over six degrees of global warming by 2100, which constitutes a climate change planetary emergency and a threat to the very survival of humanity.
(Figure 1 below)
Figure 1: Today's global greenhouse gas emissions are tracking towards
the IPCC's worst case scenario (A1FI).
TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR SAFEGUARDING HUMANITY
AND LIFE ON EARTH
Doctors and concerned professionals in other leading institutions have a vital role to play in safeguarding future generations from planetary catastrophe — but only by acting today.
Why healthcare professionals? The medical community is in a special position to respond to this crisis. There is no profession better qualified to understand the huge risks humanity is running, to define "dangerous" climate change, and to prescribe the best remedial measures for diminishing the disaster and preventing total climate catastrophe.
The declaration of this planetary climate change emergency and summons to a global emergency response would naturally come first from these professions.
Only an international declaration of a state of global climate change emergency can rapidly rectify this situation, by leading to a concerted international emergency response to rescue all future generations.
Nations are still targeting the 1996 EU policy compromise of 2ºC global warming, which according to the latest science is disastrous and invites catastrophe. (More...)
It is CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE's mission to help concerned professionals (especially doctors) contribute to remedying this situation, and to link with support from other concerned citizens.
The world needs policies and planning based on the avoidance of any risk of irreversible, catastrophic climate change tipping points. This site therefore addresses the worst risks as well as the worst predicted impacts. (More...)
Why the urgency? In short, all (inevitable) carbon feedbacks to global warming are now operant. This is a climate change emergency. With
a large risk of passing irreversible, catastrophic tipping points now clearly exists. (More...)
There is still no formal statement that the world is beyond "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (UN climate convention) and no declaration of a global climate crisis or planetary state of emergency.
Industrialized nations continue to block the way to an agreement that would prevent catastrophic global climate change. All nations are bound by the 1992 UN climate convention to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
Medical debate about global warming has so far emphasized the planning and response to global climate change. It is therefore timely that we draw a parallel to medical involvement in the nuclear weapons disarmament movement in the 1980s....
Doctors now have a similar particular responsibility in the fight to achieve urgent international reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Firstly, we can point to the futility of expending our energy, enterprise and long-term investment in advancing health care in the absence of action to preserve a livable planet....
We can [also] inform the debate with reliable data on the health consequences of global warming, and use our professional voice and leadership to instill it with urgency.
— Dr. Richard F. Kefford, Professor of Medicine
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE assists in building a global voice of concerned professionals, particularly healthcare professionals, to ensure a healthy and habitable planet for future generations — of all species. The emergency medical responses suggested in this website are based on:
What's the first step? Click on the Climate Change Emergency button below for immediate action steps, or on a link to the left to learn about the risks and to see how doctors and other healthcare professionals can take action on global climate change.
Global Climate Health Alliance
Declare public health emergency
Join the Avaaz.org 30 Months to Save the World campaign.