European doctors’ recommendations to tackle climate change, the biggest global health threat in the 21st century
CPME has published a new policy on climate change and health, making key recommendations to policy-makers and the healthcare sector.
Climate change already has an impact on health, affecting factors such as heatwaves, clean air, drought, and sufficient food, as well as shifting the geographical distribution of diseases. It is a societal, political, scientific and economic imperative to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
Healthcare services have a key role to play in reducing their own carbon footprint and achieving net-zero emissions, as the health sector accounts for 4.4% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and even more in certain European countries.
CPME President Dr Christiaan Keijzer said “We must meet the targets of the EU climate law, including Fit for 55. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is vital to improve health, for example by making sustainable transport and food choices.
“Doctors should advocate for better climate protection, including in the healthcare sector. CPME is committed to work with policy-makers to make healthcare delivery more sustainable and climate neutral.”
This year, the EU is revising the Ambient Air Quality Directives, providing a crucial opportunity to improve environmental standards for public health.
CPME Vice President Dr Martin Balzan said “Air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths and much ill health in Europe every year. It is indefensible to adopt new EU laws that continue to ignore the science on unsafe levels of pollution. The EU’s ambient air quality laws need to fully align with the WHO guidelines and the latest scientific evidence by 2030 at the latest. We urge the EU to be ambitious in protecting the health of its citizens.”
Earlier this year, the winter edition of our magazine focused on climate action as a necessary and immediate priority for the healthcare sector.
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