Physicians Need to Play Key Role in Combating Climate Change

(07.11.2016) The essential role that physicians need to play in tackling climate change will be emphasised by the World Medical Association when the next round of climate change negotiations open in Marrakesh on today (Monday).

A delegation of WMA physicians will be attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks to ensure that health is properly addressed when action points are set to implement the agreement reached at the Paris summit last year. During the Morocco meeting, key challenges affecting health will be discussed as delegates debate how best to take action to contribute to a healthy sustainable future and to protect communities at greatest risk from climate change.

WMA Secretary General Dr. Otmar Kloiber said: ‘WMA delegates will be emphasising the essential role physicians can and should play to alleviate the health effects of climate change. They will also be encouraging health organizations to divest from fossil fuels. We want to see national medical associations and other health organisations transfer their investments from energy companies relying on fossil fuels to those generating energy from renewable sources’.

The WMA delegation will also be urging governments to strengthen public health systems to improve the capacity of communities to adapt to climate change. It will also argue for incorporating national medical associations into all emergency planning.

Dr. Kloiber added: ‘We want to ensure that physicians are involved in local, national and international plans to combat climate change. We are very pleased that the global climate treaty negotiated by 197 countries in Paris last year has been granted the full force of international law, well ahead of all expectations. We sincerely hope that this is a promising signal for Marrakech. That agreement gave us all hope that the world’s governments recognised the serious consequences for health as a result of climate change. We now mean to make sure that we turn that hope into action’.