Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health

Lukoye Atwoli; Abdullah H. Baqui; Thomas Benfield; Raffaella Bosurgi; Fiona Godlee; Stephen Hancocks; Richard Horton; Laurie Laybourn-Langton; Carlos Augusto Monteiro; Ian Norman; Kirsten Patrick; Nigel Praities; Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert; Eric J. Rubin; Peush Sahni; Richard Smith; Nick Talley; Sue Turale; Damián Vázquez

Disclosures

Pediatr Nurs. 2021;47(5):213-215. 

In This Article

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.

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