No temperature increase is ’safe’

“Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades. The science is unequivocal: a global increase of 1.5° C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse. Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.”

Those words appeared in a perspective simultaneously published Sept. 5, 2021, by leading medical journals—including The New England Journal of Medicine. In the United States, the publication comes just days after Hurricane Ida tore a path from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, leaving devastation and death in its path, while wildfires continue to rage on the nation’s West Coast—all events that environmental scientists say are driven by climate change.

The perspective, which is titled “Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health,” was published to coincided with the United Nations General Assembly’s September plan to “bring countries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environment crisis.” Additional meetings, including a biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, are also planned.

The perspective made the case that “no temperature rise is ’safe’” and that harm from rising temperature includes “increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality.”

Finally, they wrote:

“The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5° C and to restore nature. Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world. We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as-the year that the world finally changes course.”

Peggy Peck, Editor-in-Chief, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 149

Topic ID: 88,149,730,192,149,590,925