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Home » Medical Journals Call Climate Change the ‘Greatest Threat to Global Public Health’

Medical Journals Call Climate Change the ‘Greatest Threat to Global Public Health’

Medical Journals Call Climate Change the ‘Greatest Threat to Global Public Health’

A collection of leading health and medical journals called this week for swift action to combat climate change, calling on governments to cooperate and invest in the environmental crisis with the degree of funding and urgency they used to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

In an editorial published in more than 200 medical and health journals worldwide, the authors declared a 1.5-degree-Celsius rise in global temperatures the “greatest threat to global public health.” The world is on track to warm by around 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100, based on current policies.

“The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5°C above the preindustrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse,” the authors wrote. “Indeed, no temperature rise is ‘safe.’”

Although medical journals have copublished editorials in the past, this marked the first time that publication has been coordinated at this scale. In total more than 200 journals representing every continent and a wide range of medical and health disciplines from ophthalmology to veterinary medicine published the statement. The authors are editors of leading journals including The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the editorial, they raised concerns not only about the direct health consequences of rising temperatures, including heat-related mortality, pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease, but also the indirect costs, including the effects that soil depletion could have on malnutrition and the possibility that widespread destruction of habitats could increase the likelihood of future pandemics.

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