Health Groups Call for Clean Energy Ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Organizations Representing Health Sector in Over 80 Countries Call for Shift from Fossil Fuels to Renewables, Citing Health and Financial Benefits

Health organizations spanning every continent issued a call today to end society’s deadly and costly dependence on fossil fuels. The Paris Platform for Healthy Energy reflects a growing consensus among health professionals and organizations across the globe that shifting to clean, renewable energy will protect public health from both global climate change and the impacts of local pollution.

With the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris commencing in less than three weeks, the Paris Platform for Healthy Energy makes an urgent health-based appeal to the world’s governments to achieve a strong, binding international climate agreement.

To date, 30 groups, representing health organizations in more than 80 countries, including prominent health professional federations, hospitals, health systems, and institutions of health education and research, have endorsed the Platform. The endorsements include the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the senior leadership of the World Medical Association.

“With the Paris Platform for Healthy Energy, the health sector is making it very clear that urgent global action is needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This would not only reduce health risks from climate change but also yield large health benefits and cost savings from prevented illness and premature death due to air pollution,” said Jennifer Wang, Coordinator of the Healthy Energy Initiative for Health Care Without Harm, which developed the Platform in collaboration with partners from around the world.

“The Paris Platform also shows that the health sector is ready to lead through its own actions and investments,” said Ms. Wang.

An endorser of the Platform, Dr. Maria Minerva Calimag, President of the Philippine Medical Association, commented that “As physicians, it is imperative that we support the use of renewable energy sources.” The Philippines is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, yet expecting aggressive growth of coal in its energy mix. “The disease burden caused by fossil fuel emissions includes many cardio-respiratory diseases that result in deaths worldwide,” Dr. Calimag said.

“Fossil fuel dependence is driving climate change and negative impacts on air and water quality that cause harmful human health effects, with far-reaching consequences worldwide. Children are among the most vulnerable to these harmful health effects,” said Dr. Aparna Bole, a pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. University Hospitals Health System is a member of the U.S. Health Care Climate Council, which has endorsed the Paris Platform. “Our commitment to leadership in ‘healthy energy’ choices is an extension of our mission to heal and prevent illness.”

The lead endorsers of the Paris Platform for Healthy Energy are: the World Federation of Public Health Associations, Health Care Without Harm, Europe’s Health and Environment Alliance, and Australia’s Climate and Health Alliance.

The Platform is in part a response to a special report issued earlier this year by the internationally renowned medical journal The Lancet, which stated that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. The Lancet specifically called on governments to rapidly phase out coal from the global energy mix to protect cardiovascular and respiratory health, and to rapidly expand access to renewable energy in low- and middle-income countries.

The text of the Paris Platform for Healthy Energy, along with the full list of endorsements and testimonials, is available at http://www.healthyenergyinitiative.org/platform.

Media Inquiries

Main Contact:
Jennifer Wang, jwang@hcwh.org, +1 630-677-0390

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