Climate, Health and Equity Newsletter
Doctors, Clergy Issue Clarion Calls on Climate
September 13, 2021
The Climate, Health & Equity Brief is GMMB’s take on the week’s news on the current impacts of climate change. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by clicking here.
Hot Topic: Doctor’s orders. More than 230 health and medical journals joined forces this week to issue an unprecedented call to action about the state of human health in the face of climate change. As the joint statement makes clear, heat-related deaths among people over 65 have increased by more than 50 percent since 2000. Higher temperatures have increased dehydration, renal failure, skin cancers, tropical infections, mental health disorders, pregnancy complications, allergies, and heart attacks. And the widespread destruction of nature is eroding water and food security and increasing the chance of global pandemics.
In yet another urgent call to action, three of the world’s most prominent Christian leaders, including the Pope—who together minister to more than 1.5 billion people—called upon world leaders to take bold climate action as they prepare for the global COP26 climate conference in November. The edict rightly calls out the profound injustice that the world’s poor bear the most immediate and significant consequences of the climate crisis, yet themselves are the least responsible for it.
Perhaps the world’s doctors said it best: “Allowing the consequences [of climate change] to fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable will breed more conflict, food insecurity, forced displacement, and zoonotic disease — with severe implications for all countries and communities.”
We owe it to ourselves—and to every human being on this planet—to take urgent, decisive action to value every human life, and to course correct now to protect the current and future health of the planet for all.
— Matt & Traci, GMMB
More than 230 health journals including The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine signed onto a landmark statement sounding the alarm on the catastrophic and irreversible consequences to human health that are expected with a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures. (CNN)
A new analysis revealed that nearly one in three Americans have experienced a natural disaster in just the past three months, and that nearly two in three Americans live in areas that experienced a multiday heatwave in the same timeframe. (The Washington Post)
A new UN report found that in the past 50 years, weather disasters have increased five-fold, causing two million deaths—91 percent of which occurred in developing countries—and costing $3.6 trillion in damages. (NPR)
A new report found that between 2017 and 2020, 18 coal plants in Southeast Europe were responsible for an estimated 19,000 deaths in the region due to sulfur dioxide emissions that were at least six times the legal limit. (Bloomberg)
A new study warns that glacial melting in the Arctic fueled by rising temperatures is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme cold events in North America, such as February’s deadly winter storm in Texas that caused $90 billion in damages. (Bloomberg)
An oil spill unleashed by last week’s Hurricane Ida has created a 14-mile long oil slick off the Louisiana coast, showing the risks posed by the 18,000 miles of decommissioned pipelines still running through the Gulf of Mexico as climate-fueled storms intensify. (Bloomberg)
Climate change represents a massive threat to global health that will likely eclipse the major known pandemics as the leading cause of death and disease in the 21st century.”
-Dr. Dana Hanson, former president, World Medical Association
Farmworkers in the U.S, 75 percent of whom are Latinx, are 20 times more likely to die from extreme heat than other outdoor workers. (Axios)
FEMA has announced that it will ease guidelines on verifying homeownership to receive disaster aid, reducing barriers that have disproportionately prevented many Southern Black families from receiving aid for family homes inherited without the legal paperwork. (CNBC)
Politics & Economy
A new analysis from the Clean Air Fund revealed that between 2019 and 2020, worldwide governments gave 20 percent more in overseas funding to fossil fuel projects than to pollution reduction efforts. (The Guardian)
Climate groups are calling for the postponement of COP26 due to global vaccine inequity, travel costs and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, though organizers remain committed to hosting the talks in Glasgow in November. (BBC)
The leaders of three major Christian denominations—who minister to a collective 1.5 billion faithful—released an unprecedented joint statement this week calling for aggressive climate action from world leaders and people of all faiths ahead of November’s UN Climate Conference. (NPR)
The largest carbon capture facility in the world began operations in Iceland this week, and is set to capture 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. (The Washington Post)
Read the unprecedented joint statement from more than 230 medical journals sounding the alarm on the perils to human health caused by climate change here.
The GMMB Climate, Health & Equity Brief would not be possible without the contributions of the larger GMMB California team—Aaron Benavides, Elke Cortes, Stefana Simonetto and Sydney Lykins. Feedback on the Brief is welcome and encouraged and should be sent to [email protected].