The American College of Physicians is urging doctors to raise their voices to help combat the health problems associated with climate change. (1)
The big climate changes aren’t just an environmental, economic, or political issue. They are a major global health concern!
Recent years we are witnessing a big climate changes which are already harming people’s health by a many illnesses connected to the changes in the weather patterns, a leading group of doctors says in a new position paper.
As a result, the American College of Physicians (ACP) is calling for “aggressive, concerted” action to fight climate change by curbing man-made greenhouse gas emissions. (2)
There are many new respiratory illnesses, infections and diseases like Zika virus, heat stroke, dengue fever and cholera, water-borne diseases, food and water insecurity, malnutrition, and behavioral health problems, which are connected with the global temperatures rise.
“Our climate is already changing and people are already being harmed. If we don’t begin to address climate change, we’re going to see more and more manifestations of these health problems,” said ACP President Dr. Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP.
“There is clear, compelling scientific consensus that climate change is real,” he added. “There is no dispute.”
ACP says that physicians have a role in combating climate change, especially as it relates to human health: (3)
“Office-based physicians and their staffs can also play a role by taking action to achieve energy and water efficiency, using renewable energy, expanding recycling programs, and using low-carbon or zero-carbon transportation,” Riley said. “ACP has 18 international chapters that span the globe. This paper was written not only to support advocacy for changes by the U.S. government to mitigate climate change, but to provide our international chapters and internal medicine colleagues with policies and analysis that they can use to advocate with their own governments, colleagues, and the public, and for them to advocate for changes to reduce their own health systems impact.” (4)
The statement points to the urgency for fighting global warming: “The average surface air temperature of Earth has increased by 0.8 °C (1.4 °F) since 1880. In the Northern Hemisphere, the period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the past 1400 years, and 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record.” (5)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that by the end of this century, global average temperatures could increase by another 2.6°C to 4.8°C (4.7°F – 8.6°F).
“However, if coordinated, aggressive mitigation efforts are made to reduce carbon emissions, the planet could warm by 0.3 to 1.7 °C (0.5 to 3.1 °F),” the article states.