Far from being just a future prospect, it is clear that many regions of the world have long since started to feel the impacts of climate change. These impacts pose the greatest challenge to global health in the 21st century. However, they are not distributed equally. Overwhelmingly, those suffering the consequences of climate change are the communities, already marginalised by systems of power, that have contributed the least to it. In tackling this crisis, it is crucial that the international community adopts an approach founded on justice and works towards equitable solutions that prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet.
Health & Climate Justice at COP 26 sets out the key public health evidence for robust action to rapidly decarbonise society on a global level in a way that is just and recognises the historical responsibilities and obligations that the UK and other wealthy nations and former colonial powers must adhere to in order to do their fair share towards mitigating the risks of ecological breakdown.
The findings of the briefing informed the demands in our letter to the UK Government and COP26 leadership. Specifically, we demand that the UK Government and COP26 leadership: 1) Commit to ambitious and historically accurate emissions reductions, 2) Permanently Cancel all new fossil fuel extractive projects, 3) Guarantee a fossil free COP26 by barring the access of fossil fuel companies and lobbyists to the negotiations.
This briefing was written by Rob Abrams, Hilary Aked, Aditi Babel, Al Chisholm, Ben Eder, Tessa Elliot and Alistair Wardrope ─ members of the Medact Climate & Health Research Cluster.