200 health journals are publishing a worldwide editorial prior to COP26 to call on leaders to take action imminently to stop our ‘greatest threat to public health’.
It is the first time so many journals are collaborating to make a statement on a single issue.
The official editorial statement reads:
“Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we – the editors of health journals worldwide – call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.
Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades.
The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.
Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.
Reflecting the severity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals across the world.
We are united in recognising that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.
The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C 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.”
The announcement of this key publication came just days before Sky News revealed that leaked information suggests UK Government ministers have agreed to drop binding commitments to the Paris climate change agreement from the UK/Australian Brexit trade deal. It is understood that any specific reference to temperature commitments will be removed from the deal, and will instead be ‘implicit.’
Climate activists – including Labour’s shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband – fear the move to secure a trade deal will call into question the UK’ commitments to the environment, which seems astounding on the eve of hosting COP26, and that ‘this government is pursuing trade deals at the expense of our farmers and now our climate targets.’ However, the deal is likely to still reference the Paris Agreement generally, which is the first time any country has managed to secure in a deal with Australia.
Though Australia is a signatory to the agreement, their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been less pro-active in setting and enforcing climate targets within the country.