Over 46 million health professionals are urging “COP President Sultan Al Jaber, who also serves as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, to ‘commit to an accelerated, just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels and invest in a renewable energy transition.’” Al Jaber will be presiding over COP28 which starts on November 30th in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and runs until December 12, 2023.
Some of the key findings of the 2023 Report of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change (issued November 14, 2023) just around the increases in heat and more frequent and severe drought are;
- “heat-related deaths of people older than 65 years increased by 85% compared with 1990–2000, substantially higher than the 38% increase that would have been expected had temperatures not changed”
- “global land area affected by extreme drought increased from 18% in 1951–60 to 47% in 2013–22, jeopardising water security, sanitation, and food production”
- “higher frequency of heatwaves and droughts in 2021 was associated with 127 million more people experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity compared with 1981–2010 putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition and potentially irreversible health effects”
- “changing climatic conditions are also putting more populations at risk of life-threatening infectious diseases, such as dengue, malaria, vibriosis, and West Nile virus”
In the conclusion to the article the authors say “To truly protect health, climate negotiations must drive a rapid and sustained shift away from fossil fuels, accelerate mitigation, and increase support for health adaptation. Anything less would amount to healthwashing—increasing the acceptability of initiatives that minimally advance climate change action to the detriment of billions of people alive today.”
Let us hope that Al Jaber and all the COP28 participants will listen and more importantly act on the recommendations in the report from these health professionals from around the globe - for all of our sakes.