Ahead of this year’s UN Conference on climate – COP28, which will take place this year in Dubai, no less – official bodies and organizations representing 46 million healthcare professionals around the world have published an open letter calling for “an accelerated, just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels “. Very well thought, this resumes all the issues and everything that is at stakes.
If the effects of burning fossil fuels have been very well documented on both global (climate change) and local (air pollution and its 8 million deaths annually) scales, up until now healthcare professionals and organizations had not been represented at the United Nations’ annual climate conference.
With such events having taken place almost every year since 1995 and having close to no effect on rising greenhouse gases emissions, something has to change if Humans and Nature are to survive on planet Earth. Not only are emissions increasing, they are increasing faster and faster.
Let’s hope that this open letter and the future “Health Day” at COP28 will change that. There is hope, as the World Health Organization stated that « COP28 is expected to lift the political profile of the climate-health nexus, and mainstream health in the global climate change agenda »
These are massive news as globally hospitals, clinics and other health facilities consume vast amounts of energy, water and other resources. It is estimated that the healthcare sector consumes a ginormous 5 to 8 percent of global energy and would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet if it were a country (source: Healthcare Without Harm)
I am fortunate and proud to be working on these issues. Reducing such consumptions is a vast undertaking as is the energy transition towards renewables. There is no doubt that this undertaking will keep me and thousands of other professionals around the world busy for the years and decades to come.
Image credits : camilo jimenez on Unsplash.