Margaret Chan, the director of the World Health Organization, has delivered a powerful message: climate change causes serious health risks. She urges the health community to join the movement calling for a cleaner. more sustainable future.
Ms Chan agreed with the recommendations of the Lancet commission and has promised WHO support for three specific recommendations.
- First, its recommendation to support financing of climate resilient health systems;
- Secondly, advice to Governments to assess the health effects of energy generating systems and factoring this into government policies.
In this context, Ms. Chan referred to the recent report by researchers at the International Monetary Fund. That report identified the omission of health damages from polluting fuels as the largest of the subsidies provided to global energy production and use, which will total US$5·3 trillion in 2015. This amount is larger than total health spending by all of the world’s governments.
- Thirdly the commission and the WHO call for the monitoring and assessment of progress towards a low carbon future. The common sense basis for this recommendation is that what gets measured gets done.
(Third in a series of commentaries by Georgina Wilcock M.D. on the report of a commission established by the Lancet.)