12月に国連での気候問題合意が得られないと「グローバルな健康大災害」に至ると世界の18の専門医学機関が言っている。Lancet, BMJ で医師が気候変動問題に先頭にたって取り組むよう促している。貧困熱帯地域が最も悪影響を受け、気候変動を制御することが健康的な食事やきれいな空気などの利益をもたらす。
Page last updated at 23:31 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 00:31 UK
Doctors warn on climate failure
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Malnourished girl in Haiti
The authors believe climate change will increase rates of malnutrition
Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe", say 18 of the world's professional medical organisations.
Writing in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, they urge doctors to "take a lead" on the climate issue.
In a separate editorial, the journals say that people in poor tropical nations will suffer the worst impacts.
They argue that curbing climate change would have other benefits such as more healthy diets and cleaner air.
December's UN summit, to be held in Copenhagen, is due to agree a new global climate treaty to supplant the Kyoto Protocol.
But preparatory talks have been plagued by lack of agreement on how much to cut greenhouse gas emissions and how to finance climate protection for the poorest countries.
Effects of climate change on health will... put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk
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"There is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these," according to the letter signed by leaders of 18 colleges of medicine and other medical disciplines across the world.
"Should their response be weak, the results for international health could be catastrophic."
Earlier in the year, The Lancet, together with University College London (UCL), published a major review on the health impacts of climate change.
Some of the headline findings were that rising temperatures are likely to increase transmission of many infectious diseases, reduce supplies of food and clean water in developing countries, and raise the number of people dying from heat-related conditions in temperate regions.
Women carrying charcoal sacks
Changing fuel can improve women's lives as well as curbing emissions
But it also acknowledged some huge gaps in research - for example, that "almost no reliable data for heatwave-induced mortality exist in Africa or south Asia".
Nevertheless, the main conclusion was that in a world likely to have three billion new inhabitants by the second half of this century: "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".
The current Lancet and BMJ editorial that accompanies the letter from doctors' organisations argues that climate change strengthens the cases that health and development charities are already championing.
"Even without climate change, the case for clean power, electric cars, saving forests, energy efficiency, and new agriculture technology is strong.
"Climate change makes it unanswerable."
Written by Lord Michael Jay, who chairs the health charity Merlin, and Professor Michael Marmot of UCL, the editorial argues that there are plenty of "win-win solutions" available.
"A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon-diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
"Opportunity, surely, not cost."
The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9694, Page 973, 19 September 2009
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61641-XCite or Link Using DOI
Politicians must heed health effects of climate change
Victor Lim a, Joseph W Stubbs b, Nazmun Nahar c, Naomali Amarasena d, Zafar Ullah Chaudry e, Steven Chow Kim Weng f, Bongani Mayosi g, Zephne van der Spuy h, Raymond Liang i, Kar Neng Lai j, Geoffrey Metz k, G William N Fitzgerald l, Brian Williams m, Neil Douglas n, John Donohoe o, Somwang Darnchaivijir p, Patrick Coker q, Ian Gilmore rEmail Address
This letter is published simultaneously in the BMJ
The UCL Lancet Commission on climate change and health (May 16, p 1693)1 concludes: “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”. In this report, the authors emphasise not only the immediacy and gravity of this threat, but also the directness: while the poorest in the world will be the first affected, none will be spared. The escalating carbon footprint of the developed world has led to the present situation, but the rapid impact on developing countries such as the encroaching deserts in Africa is the immediate price.
This is one reason why doctors must take a lead in speaking out. Another is that there are important co-benefits of tackling climate change for those with long-term conditions in the developed world, such as those that come from more exercise with less use of cars and dietary change with reduced meat consumption. In December of this year, world governments meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate a new UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these. Should their response be weak, the results for international health could be catastrophic. Doctors are still seen as respected and independent, largely trusted by their patients and the societies in which they practise. As leaders of physicians across many countries, we call on doctors to demand that their politicians listen to the clear facts that have been identified in relation to climate change and act now to implement strategies that will benefit the health of communities worldwide.
We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.
1 Costello A, Abbas M, Allen A, et al. Managing the health effects of climate change. Lancet 2009; 373: 1693-1733. Full Text | PDF(5852KB) | CrossRef | PubMed
a Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
b American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, PA, USA
c Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dhaka, Bangladesh
d Ceylon College of Physicians, Colombo, Sri Lanka
e College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan
f College of Physicians of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
g College of Physicians of South Africa, Rondebosch, South Africa
h Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, Rondebosch, South Africa
i Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, Hong Kong, SAR China
j Hong Kong College of Physicians, Hong Kong, SAR China
k Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney, NSW, Australia
l Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
m Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
n Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
o Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
p Royal College of Physicians of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
q West African College of Physicians, Lagos, Nigeria
r Royal College of Physicians of London, London NW1 4LE, UK
Managing the health effects of climate change
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