- 8th October marked the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is the world collaboration of top scientists to review progress globally on targets towards the reduction of carbon emissions. The report makes grim reading and this is part of the problem – people switch off as there is so much bad news around these days, and ‘what can we do about it anyway’?
Well as scientists we need to be aware of what the latest report says and what it means for children. The report itself can be read at https://www.ipcc.ch and the summary for policy makers at https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/sr15/sr15_spm_final.pdf but is not an easy read so here is the Guardian summary
- Essentially the report says that the worst effects of CC can be mitigated if temperatures are kept below a rise of 1.5 degr C above pre-industrial times, and that this is achievable. A useful summary from the BBC is here – this is a good one to send round members of the public https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46351940
- Social paediatricians have a major role in disseminating the findings of the IPCC and discussing its implications locally. Please do all you can to ensure that the public is aware and the paediatric trainees are all well informed.
- Over the coming days (2-14 December) the annual Conference of Parties (COP) on climate change will be held in Katowice, Poland. Look out for indicators as to which countries are the backsliders to the climate agreements – we know that USA, Australia and the Gulf States are the most prominent.
See the other articles in this e-bulletin on what you can do and on which organisations can help.
And: just out in the Lancet
The following four key messages derive from the Lancet Countdown’s 2018 report:
- Present day changes in heat waves, labour capacity, vector-borne disease, and food security provide early warning of the compounded and overwhelming impact on public health that are expected if temperatures continue to rise. Trends in climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities show an unacceptably high level of risk for the current and future health of populations across the world.
- A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.
- Despite these delays, a number of sectors have seen the beginning of a low-carbon transition, and it is clear that the nature and scale of the response to climate change will be the determining factor in shaping the health of nations for centuries to come.
- Ensuring a widespread understanding of climate change as a central public health issue will be crucial in delivering an accelerated response, with the health profession beginning to rise to this challenge.