The Covid-19 does not change the climate emergency. This is the message sent, Monday, September 6, in a joint editorial, by the editors of some twenty prestigious journals, of which The Lancet, the British Medical Journal where the National Medical Journal of India.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the world cannot delay measures “Urgent” to take against global warming and the destruction of nature, which threaten human health, argue the main medical journals of the planet.
“Health is already impaired by the increase in global temperature and the destruction of nature”, they write. With an increase of about 1.1 ° C since the pre-industrial era, the consequences for human health are already significant.
“The higher temperatures have led to an increase in cases of dehydration and kidney problems, malignant skin tumors, tropical infections, mental problems, pregnancy complications, allergies and mortality, and cardiovascular morbidity. and pulmonary “, underlines this unprecedented editorial. He also mentions the decline in agricultural production which has slowed down the efforts made for years to fight against malnutrition.
Risk of “catastrophic” damage to health
These consequences, they point out, hit the most vulnerable even harder (minorities, children, the poorest communities, etc.). Above all, they are just the beginning, points out the editorial. A warming to + 1.5 ° C – a threshold that could be reached around 2030, according to the report of the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in early August -, and the loss continuous biodiversity “Risk causing catastrophic and irreversible damage to health”.
“Despite the legitimate concern for the Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to be over to quickly reduce emissions” greenhouse gases, insist the authors of this call, two months before the crucial COP26 in Glasgow.
“The risks of climate change could eclipse those of any disease. The Covid-19 pandemic will end, but there is no vaccine against the climate crisis ”, commented the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement, noting that “Every measure taken to limit emissions and global warming brings us closer to a healthier and more secure future”.
To change direction
Evoking the sums ” unprecedented “ spent during the pandemic, medical journals thus call for a massive increase in funding for the protection of the planet and highlight the positive cascading effects.
“Better air quality alone would provide health improvements that easily outweigh the overall cost of reducing emissions.”, say the authors.
Beyond money, they plead for a “Fundamental change in the way our societies and economies are organized and in our way of life” : overhaul of transport systems, cities, food production and distribution, financial markets, health systems, ” and more “.
“2021 must be the year in which our planet changes course: our common health depends on it”, insisted Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of BMJ, co-author of the editorial.