Physician Leaders Call for Health to be Protected in Climate Change Agreement

(25.11.2015) A sustainable global agreement on climate change with a strong emphasis on the protection and improvement of health has been called for by the World Medical Association on the eve of the climate change summit in Paris.

WMA leaders, headed by Past President Dr. Xavier Deau, will be attending next week's summit to press for a clear recognition in the final agreement of the threat to health from the world’s rising temperatures.

Dr. Deau said: ‘For too long the alarming impact of climate change on health has been ignored by the world’s leaders despite repeated warnings from physicians across the globe. Yet we know that our patients' health is already being harmed by changes to the climate.

‘We know, for instance, that extreme weather events such as droughts and floods will lead to deaths and increased illnesses, changing the patterns of infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria. Warnings have also been given about increasing water shortages and water-borne diseases, and in a world where health inequality is profound, these changes will only make matters worse. It is vital for a comprehensive agreement to include a fair mechanism to address climate change loss and damage in all its forms around the world including through the appropriate valuation of health.

'The Paris agreement must take into account the social determinants of health, as climate change threatens many of them, from clean air, food and water security, to safe shelter and secure livelihoods. It must also include provision for fostering the transition to clean and renewable energy.’