Cooperation Hinges on Wealthy Nations Doing More
In particular, countries that have disproportionately created the environmental crisis must do more to support low- and middle-income countries to build cleaner, healthier, and more resilient societies. High income countries must meet and go beyond their outstanding commitment to provide $100 billion a year, making up for any shortfall in 2020 and increasing contributions to and beyond 2025. Funding must be equally split between mitigation and adaptation, including improving the resilience of health systems.
Financing should be through grants rather than loans, building local capabilities and truly empowering communities, and should come alongside forgiving large debts, which constrain the agency of so many low-income countries. Additional funding must be marshalled to compensate for inevitable loss and damage caused by the consequences of the environmental crisis.
As health professionals, we must do all we can to aid the transition to a sustainable, fairer, resilient, and healthier world. Alongside acting to reduce the harm from the environmental crisis, we should proactively contribute to global prevention of further damage and action on the root causes of the crisis. We must hold global leaders to account and continue to educate others about the health risks of the crisis. We must join in the work to achieve environmentally sustainable health systems before 2040, recognizing that this will mean changing clinical practice. Health institutions have already divested more than $42 billion of assets from fossil fuels; others should join them (Watts et al., 2021).
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.
This editorial is being published simultaneously in many international journals. Please see the full list here: https://www.bmj.com/content/full-list-authors-and-signatories-climate-emergency-editorial-september-2021
We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and FG serves on the executive committee for the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and is a Trustee of the Eden Project. RS is the chair of Patients Know Best, has stock in UnitedHealth Group, has done consultancy work for Oxford Pharmagenesis, and is chair of the Lancet Commission of the Value of Death. None further declared.
Provenance and Peer Review
Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
Pediatr Nurs. 2021;47(5):213-215. © 2021 Jannetti Publications, Inc.