By Genon K. Jensen, HEAL’s Executive Director
Yesterday, a sixteen head strong high-level HEAL delegation traveled to COP23, the UN Climate Change Conference 2017, taking place from 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany. We aim to bring the added benefit of a health angle to the climate negotiations, and attend, organise and present at events dedicated to the connection of health and climate as well as advocate for a firm renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Tackling climate change has never been more urgent. Leading up to the COP21 in Paris I wrote a prescription to world leaders on what needed to be done for meaningful climate action that benefits the health of the world’s citizens. And while the COP21 resulted in the historic Paris Agreement, climate and health action doesn’t end here but instead needs to accelerate to reach the climate goals of 2015.
Climate change is more than an environmental challenge – it is a major threat that affects health, wellbeing and human rights, and disproportionately impacts those most vulnerable, such as children, and the poor. In turn, this means climate action presents incredible opportunities for our health: decarbonising our societies and way of life – be it in transport, buildings, energy or food systems – is entirely possible and will make this world a healthier, increasingly prosperous and more sustainable place.
Health professionals all over the world are already engaged on limiting global warming and air pollution and making sure that we reap the many benefits to health that come with ambitious climate action. Here are just a few examples in which HEAL is involved: