PHI Statement on Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

DateApril 17, 2014

Statement from PHI’s Jennifer Miller of the Center for Climate Change & Health

“The second and third parts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released over the past two weeks, find major health risks due to climate change and that current actions to address climate change remain inadequate to prevent the likelihood of catastrophic warming. PHI calls on governments, business leaders and civil society to pursue urgent, substantial action across sectors and nations to mitigate climate change and protect health.

 “Climate change poses a major threat to health and to health equity and is forecast to increase the number of undernourished children under five years old by 20-25 million globally by 2050, among its many impacts in the US and throughout the world. It has been called the greatest threat to global health of the 21st century. Delaying stronger mitigation efforts, the reports indicate, will ‘substantially increase the difficulty of the transition’ and will ‘narrow the range of options’ for preventing unmanageable climate change.

 “Yet addressing climate change also offers one of our biggest opportunities to improve health. Strategies to mitigate climate change such as reducing car travel and energy use by making cities denser, more walkable and greener can reduce chronic diseases by increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, strengthening social connectivity and improving air quality. Globally, the central roles of women in agriculture, cooking, gathering fuel and water, and  in community life make general and climate education for girls and women, and empowering women, important strategies for mitigating climate change and building community resilience. These strategies increase gender equity, and go hand in hand with improving sexual and reproductive rights and health. The IPCC reports find strong near-term action to mitigate climate change fully compatible with global development goals.

 “The benefits of action are many, the risks of inaction devastating. PHI calls for urgent and substantial action to mitigate climate change, and for proactive investment in adaptation and building climate resilience.”