Climate change is world's top public health threat, 230+ medical journals say

September 8, 2021

Climate change is world's top public health threat, 230+ medical journals say

Mackenzie Bean -  Print  | Email

Global warming is the greatest threat to public health, and world leaders cannot wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to end before they address it, the editors of more than 230 medical journals said in a joint statement Sept. 5.

"Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases," the journal editors said in the statement, which was published in various journals worldwide including The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.

Heat-related mortality among people over 65 has increased by more than 50 percent in the last two decades, according to the editors. They said higher temperatures have caused a rise in health issues such as dehydration and renal function loss, tropical infections and pregnancy complications.

"The science is unequivocal: a global increase of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse," they wote. 

The journal editors are urging governments in wealthier nations to make fundamental changes to their societies and economies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

"We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course," they wrote.

The statement marks the first time medical journal editors have taken such a strong stance on climate change and comes before world leaders are set to discuss new commitments about reducing emissions at the COP26 conference in Scotland in November, according to NPR.

To read the full statement, click here.