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climate change

Nell Crowden: Climate week—cleaning up the sponsorship debate

16 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

Action on climate change is good for our health, good for our wealth, and good for our environment—our life-support system.

We are all complicit in the degradation on our once-reliable, stable climate. The climate science is clear. The economic arguments are clear. And the health message is clear: we can all do things that impact—for good and for ill. more…

Nell Crowden: What’s bad for the climate is bad for health

7 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

“Perverting the course of evidence-based policy on climate change adaptation and mitigation damages our health resilience, our economic prosperity, and our environmental stability.” (Transparency needed on donors to climate sceptic lobby, Guardian, 26.1.12)

Recently there was a freedom of information (FOI) hearing at the Information Rights Tribunal into whether to publicly reveal the funders behind Lord Lawson’s influential think tank, Global Warming Policy Foundation. Leading climate scientists, including NASA’s James Hansen, support the FoI request, as do medical leaders, including the BMJ, the Lancet, and the Climate and Health Council. Science is sceptical, and the science on climate change has been thoroughly interrogated and tested – as has the science around health and climate change (Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change): more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Disaster preparedness and resiliency

21 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tracey KoehlmoosThis week I have had the pleasure of attending a workshop in Honolulu with the centre for excellence for disaster management and humanitarian assistance (CoE-DMHA). The CoE is interested in thinking about resiliency and support for relief and rebuilding from a multi-lateral perspective. With its partners from the Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories, the CoE is polishing up its efforts to develop a system by which all players in a disaster can share and receive information. more…

Robin Stott: How to avoid an 18th COP out

16 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Three separate images from the recent 17th conference of the parties (COP 17)  in Durban, where I was as an observer on behalf of the climate and health council, frame my view of how we can rescue the COP process from its terminal decline. We might then have a better chance of rescuing the globe from a three degree increase in temperature, with the 70% predicted species extinction and the unimaginable human catastrophe that this will produce.

The first is the widely distributed photo of The UNFCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres, the EU chief negotiator Connie Hedegaard, and the South African chair of the conference Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, turning the tables in the last few hours of negotiations. The caption could well have been “It takes the efforts of three women to rescue some semblance of progress from the negotiations, and to avert catastrophe.” more…

David Pencheon: Sustainability by stealth – 8 steps to heaven

13 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

David PencheonWhen I used to teach public health to medical students and other health professionals, I tried to set myself the challenge of helping people learn about populations, prevention, screening, social determinants of health, quality of healthcare, and such things without mentioning the words public health at all. You may know why.

A great paper by Dror Etzion, assistant professor, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University (Sustainability by Stealth: four ways to make sustainability more attractive) addresses the same approach with sustainable development, another area that elicits various emotional responses. With his permission, I have taken this excellent paper and expanded it to help us engage others in issues like sustainable development and climate change: areas that make us question our values and beliefs as well as our actions, areas where we should use the precautionary principle: where action is needed when the evidence is sufficient but neither perfect nor complete. more…

Maya Tickell-Painter: Where is health being included in the UN climate change negotiations?

12 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Recently, you heard from Johnny Meldrum about why health professionals should care about climate change, and their role in the climate change negotiations. More than ever before, health professionals were present and engaging with the UN climate talks in Durban. During this conference there has been: a health summit, 6 official side events, two health-related actions, and numerous other informal and peer-to-peer education sessions. But how far have we really got at having health meaningfully included within the climate change negotiations? more…

Richard Smith: The happiness questionnaire

29 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithMy son, a chef, is part of a “pop up think tank” of people under 35 working on happiness. They are gathering evidence through a questionnaire, and I thought that some BMJ readers might be interested in both the questions and my answers. You might like to try answering the questions yourself. more…

Johnny Meldrum: The role of health professionals in UN climate change negotiations

25 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

As a medical student with the incredible opportunity to represent the voice of health at the UN climate talks in Durban (COP17), the day before my departure I was confronted with the following headline on the front-page of The Guardian: “Rich nations ‘give up’ on new climate treaty until 2020″ more…

David Pencheon: What is it about large scale change that makes anaesthetists act?

15 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

David PencheonChange may be the new constant, but it is always important to understand who embraces change most readily, and where. Doctors in general are traditionally conservative, as those outside the profession will be only too happy to confirm. We like to think we pioneer change both via behaviour (witness the change in smoking prevalence amongst doctors in the UK that preceded the change in prevalence in the wider population) and via technology (transplants, genetic research, new drugs). The resistance many doctors are showing to the current NHS reforms in England, suggests we are less engaged with that third pillar of large scale change: governance; the rules, regulations, laws, and incentives that determine how the system runs. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Climate change, health, and security

14 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tracey KoehlmoosOn 17 October, I was fortunate to attend a daylong seminar at BMA House on “the health and security perspectives of climate change.” Uniquely, this programme pulled together medical and military professionals along with climatologists, zoologists, and politicians. The morning focused on threats to global climate, health, and security whereas the afternoon sessions focused on the way forward.

The health risks from climate change might seem more obvious than the security risks, but what I learnt is that situations in Darfur and Somalia are the perfect storm examples of the intersection of climate change, health and security. In Bangladesh, if we project forward to a world without improvement and with increased violent weather and rising sea levels, we will encounter a situation in which some 75 million Bangladeshi people (half of the population) are at risk of displacement along with the stability of the nation despite long term excellence in disaster planning and management. more…

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