Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Those eccentric Brits

The American Medical Association is much too serious to do something so radical and political and hippieish as the leaders of the British Medical Association have just done. They've issued a statement calling for urgent action on climate change. I mean, what does that have to do with the profession of medicine?

Climate change poses an immediate, growing and grave threat to the health and security of people in both developed and developing countries around the globe.

Climate change leads to more frequent and extreme weather events and to conditions that favour the spread of infectious diseases. Rising sea levels, floods and droughts cause loss of habitat, water and food shortages, and threats to livelihood. These trigger conflict within and between countries. Humanitarian crises will further burden military resources through the need for rescue missions and aid. Mass migration will also increase, triggered by both environmental stress and conflict, thus leading to serious further security issues. It will often not be possible to adapt meaningfully to these changes, and the economic cost will be enormous. As in medicine, prevention is the best solution.

Action to tackle climate change not only reduces the risks to our environment and global stability but also offers significant health co-benefits.[i] Changes in power generation improve air quality. Modest life style changes – such as increasing physical activity through walking and cycling - will cut rates of heart disease and stroke, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, dementia and depressive illness. Climate change mitigation policies would thus significantly cut rates of preventable death and disability for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Oh, I see. Of course, this won't do anything to increase doctors' incomes. So there's no reason for the AMA to get involved.


robin andrea said...

An incidental connection to the previous posts, shouldn't they stop trying to save our lives? We've cooked the planet, now we'll get on with the business of dying.

Daniel said...

I appreciate your efforts on the last 3 posts.

At this point in time our best hope is that, against the odds, the climate models all contain material errors that overstate the sensitivity of GHGs or miss some other factor(s) all together. I doubt that this is the case.

When I contemplate the amount of suffering that we will most likely endure in the coming decades I am saddened.

I've worked in the fields of energy data analysis, modeling and efficiency for 30+ years. There has been an alternate path forward, built on solid science and engineering, that whole time.

1980 was a watershed year in so many ways. said...

As usual, whether it's health care or climate change, "everybody's outta step but Johnny" (the U.S. being Johnny, in this case). I remember seeing climate change models in Canada when I was a KID (c. 1971) showing global warming models IN DETAIL, with variables allowing for more or less catastrophic prognostications. I think it is so sad that this Christian fundamentalist sector of our government can so easily eschew scientific data that is inconveniently at odds with its political goals. Pathetic, no, tragic. We need to GET WITH THE PROGRAM--i.e., REALITY--here in the U.S.A.

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