Almost 200 health associations call for end to fossil fuels

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Fossil fuel power station Associations want governments to sign non-proliferation treaty on fossil fuels Photo Credit: Chris Leboutillier on Unsplash

Almost 200 medical and health associations, including more than 50 from North America, have demanded a legally binding phase-out of fossil fuels.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Paediatric Association, the World Medical Association, and the World Federation of Public Health Associations are among the signatories of a letter calling on governments to create a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.

“The modern addiction to fossil fuels is not just an act of environmental vandalism. From the health perspective, it is an act of self-sabotage”, said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The proposed treaty would be an international agreement to end immediately investment 'across all new or expanded fossil fuel exploration, extraction, and building of infrastructure, in line with the best available science'. It would also mean the phasing out 'of existing production and use of fossil fuels in a fair and equitable manner in line with the 1.5 degree global climate goal'.

More than 1,000 health professionals and 3,000 scientists have backed the campaign, which has been endorsed by the Dalai Lama, a hundred 100 Nobel laureates, and the Vatican. 

The letter was initiated by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, and Physicians for Social Responsibility with the support of the World Health Organization, the WHO-Civil Society Working Group on Climate and Health and Health Care Without Harm.

“We know that emissions have to be slashed to limit warming to safe levels, we know fossil fuels are the greatest driver of emissions, and we know that phasing out fossil fuels is the only way to reap many of the health co-benefits of climate mitigation - so why then are governments permitting new drilling, new mining and new pipelines?”, said Liz Hanna, chair for environmental health at the World Federation of Public Health Associations. “The science on this is clear: new fossil fuel development is completely incompatible with a healthy climate and a healthy future”.

“Pediatricians work hard to save lives”, said Ruth A. Etzel, co-chair of the International Pediatric Association’s Environmental Health Strategic Advisory Group. “We have an ethical duty of care, and we cannot stay silent about the global health risks that fossil fuels represent. Our message to government leaders around the world is this: The health of everyone alive today, and of future generations, depends on phasing out fossil fuels, rapidly, justly, and completely.” 



James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.


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