Open letter welcoming RCGP divestment from fossil fuels and calling on others to follow suit

Medact is coordinating an open letter from GPs, to the RCGP, to congratulate them on their divestment from fossil fuels and to encourage others to divest. We’ll also use this letter to put pressure on politicians to support legislation to restrict the fossil fuel industry.

We’re asking GPs to sign this letter – and to share it widely with their GP colleagues and networks.

The fossil fuel industry is fuelling climate change and poses a grave threat to health. But GPs can help fight this industry – if lots of GPs sign this letter we can amplify the impact of the RCGP divestment and push for urgent legislation to restrict fossil fuels.

If you are a GP please support this letter by signing below.

An open letter to congratulate the RCGP on their divestment from fossil fuels

We, the undersigned general practitioners, warmly welcome the Royal College of General Practitioners’ decision to divest from fossil fuels. We congratulate the College for the important climate leadership it is showing as it ends its investment in gas, oil and coal companies. 

The Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change has warned that climate change threatens to undo the last half century of gains in global health and development. Tragically, climate change is already impacting the health of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, who have contributed least to its causation. 

The fossil fuel industry, as a key driver of climate change, poses a grave threat to human health. Approximately 80% of  fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned if we are to limit global warming to the temperature limits set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Despite this, the fossil fuel industry continues to search for even more hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels are also a major contributor to air pollution which is comparable to tobacco in terms of the number of deaths per year for which it is responsible. Doctors have taken a stand against against this dangerous industry – it is time for UK politicians to do likewise. 

Two decades ago, the health community played a leading role in the tobacco divestment movement, putting this issue onto the political agenda and paving the way for stronger anti-tobacco legislation. Legislation to curtail the fossil fuel industry, and to promote cleaner, healthier renewable energy is now urgently needed. By divesting from fossil fuels the RCGP has made an important contribution to the fight for such legislation. We urge other health institutes to follow its excellent example. 

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned