2016 was a year of shock headlines: from the EU referendum to the rise of Donald Trump, the ongoing refugee crisis to the Zika virus outbreak.

There has been a lot of uncertainty; met with one clear certainty – that 2016 has been the hottest year in the history of global temperature records.

Whilst renewables have surpassed coal as the leading source of new electricity generation, and over 110 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement in an inspiring display of global collaboration, we have a long road ahead in tackling climate change.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have surpassed 400 parts per million, and global temperatures between January and September 2016 were 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels (WMO). Around the world, signs of food and water insecurity, changing disease patterns, and the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are impacting on health. We are increasingly faced with the reality that climate change could become the greatest threat to human health this century.

The health community has a mandate to call for social and political action to mitigate and adapt to environmental change.

Reducing air pollution, improving diets, and encouraging active forms of transport bring immediate benefits to both human health and to our planet. The health voice has the potential to be one of the most powerful in advocating for climate change mitigation policies.

Medact’s fourth annual conference brought together researchers, campaigners, health professionals and the public to discuss how to realise that potential – with delegates sharing skills, tools and inspiration for making positive changes to promote health and mitigate environmental degradation.

For more information about the event see: https://www.medact.org/forum-2016

For more talks see: Presentation resources from the conference

For information about joining see: https://www.medact.org/membership

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