More than 200 health journals worldwide are publishing an editorial calling on leaders to take emergency action on climate change and to protect health.
The British Medical Journal said it is the first time so many publications have come together to make the same statement, reflecting the severity of the situation.
The editorial, which is being published before the UN general assembly and the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this November, says: “Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we – the editors of health journals worldwide – call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.
“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 1.5C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.
Accept the claim for a moment.
Now note what they’re missing. What is the cost – in health terms if you wish – of meeting that 1.5 oC limit? This being the realm of economic analysis – opportunity costs. What can we not have because we devote resources to having this thing? We know that poorer people die sooner than richer. So, even delaying economic growth in the poor countries kills some people. We know that resources spent upon solar panels – say, just as an example – cannot be spent upon health care. So, as with ‘rona, how many die of cancer – again, just an example – because the resources to treat just aren’t there?
And so on – they’re not doing a useful analysis that is. There are many things that are desirable and each of them must be considered along with their price tags. That being exactly the thing that is not being considered, the price.