The College’s two journals, Archives of Disease in Childhood and BMJ Paediatrics Open, along with over 250 health journals around the world, have taken part in publishing a global editorial produced by the UK Health Alliance for Climate Change (UKHACC) that was released today in the lead up to COP27.
The joint editorial urges world leaders to deliver climate justice for Africa and other vulnerable countries. This is essential not just for the health of those countries but for the whole world. It is a moral issue for Europe and North America that countries in Africa and vulnerable countries face the most severe consequences of climate change when they contribute the least. This year, at COP27 hosted by Egypt, the editorial is calling for wealthy nations to deliver climate finance now.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the RCPCH, said:
Today, we have joined health professionals worldwide in calling for urgent action on climate change. The time and energy health professionals give to tackle climate change is admirable, including many RCPCH members. However, this effort must be echoed by political commitments and through the actions of global leaders. As a medical Royal College and member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, we aim to focus our efforts on placing the impact on health at the heart of climate change activity. We are determined to influence the national and international climate change agenda using our collective voice and expertise as paediatricians.
In October 2020, the College declared a climate emergency, highlighting the detrimental impacts of air pollution on younger people. Climate change has become a priority in the College strategy for 2021-24. The college published a Climate Change Action Plan in January 2022, which sets out the detailed commitment to tackling climate change as an organisation. As we near the end of the first year, many of these actions have become embedded in the college function.
As COP27 approaches in November, the College will continue to work alongside health professionals across the world to highlight the impacts of climate change on global child health.