1st November, 00:01 hrs CET: A letter published today on behalf of the international health and medical community, addressed to COP 28 President-Designate Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber demands that “countries commit to an accelerated, just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels as the decisive path to health for all” at the annual UN climate conference, taking place in December in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
For the first time in the history of climate talks, there will be an entire day dedicated to health, providing an opportunity to address the direct health impacts of climate change on individual wellbeing and health care systems.
The letter, supported by organisations that represent 46.3 million health professionals such as the World Medical Association, World Federation of Public Health Association and International Council of Nurses, outlines the critical need to protect human health by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, rapidly investing in clean energy technology and reducing air pollution - all from the perspective that public health will benefit from this rapid transition. This letter is also endorsed by leading medical journals such as the British Medical Journal.
The full text of the letter is available at https://cop28healthletter.com/
A key demand of the letter is that fossil fuel industry representatives be excluded from climate negotiations. Fossil fuel interests have no place at climate negotiations…. Just as the tobacco industry is not allowed to participate in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, it is imperative to safeguard global collaboration on climate progress from the lobbying, disinformation, and delays in favour of industry interests.” Last year’s COP27 saw a record number of representatives for the oil and gas industry in attendance, and this year the number is expected to be higher.
The letter also states that
- A full and rapid phase-out of fossil fuels is the most significant way to address health impacts of climate change
- An energy transition that is just and equitable for all
- Unlocking finance is an essential path to deliver this transition
This letter was coordinated by Health Care Without Harm and Global Climate and Health Alliance on behalf of the climate and health community.