RCPCH leads health organisations tackling climate change

On 8 September 2022, the climate change and health scorecard was published in the Journal of Climate and Health.

Eleven professional and regulatory health organisations responded to the climate change and health scorecard which aimed to examine what they are doing to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health achieved the highest score, highlighting the success of our dedicated action plan to tackle climate change which is central to the organisation. 

Health organisations have a responsibility to engage with the climate crisis across their work and as such, organisations were assessed in four categories: 

  • Advocacy 
  • Education + Training
  • Divestment
  • Internal Operations 

Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH President, said:

I am absolutely delighted to see the results of the Climate and Health Scorecard. RCPCH is committed to facing climate change head-on, and it is encouraging to be recognised as a leader amongst health organisations tackling climate change. As paediatricians, we need to be at the forefront of climate activity, given that the impacts of the climate crisis will be predominantly borne by children around the globe. I am proud of our work so far but this is only the beginning. We are in the first year of our action plan and have been focused on laying the foundations. I look forward to seeing what we achieve in the coming years.

Dr Liz Marder, RCPCH Treasurer and Chair of the RCPCH Climate Change Working Group, said:

I am so encouraged by this result. This is a real testament to the commitment of the climate change working group, which works to deliver the five workstreams of the College climate strategy. We scored highest in advocacy, where we aim to use our unique position as paediatricians to influence the national and international agenda. Last year we launched our position statement on the impact of climate change on global child health in time for COP26, and since then we have worked hard to establish ourselves as a key voice on health and climate change, working independently and with our colleagues at the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.  

It has been a privilege to lead our climate change working group. News about climate change is often so bleak and moments like this are a great opportunity to celebrate with the hope of inspiring others.

Dr Rosemary Lugg, ST2 Paediatrics at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and member of the Climate and Health Scorecard research group, said: 

This project aimed to bring about reflection and self-assessment within organisations, highlighting areas of positive action as well as areas for improvement. I’m absolutely thrilled that RCPCH have scored so highly, and that they are so committed to the work still to be done. It’s clear that child health and climate change policy are inextricably linked, and RCPCH are rising to this challenge in a way that we can all be proud of.

Climate change is an identified strategic priority in the RCPCH strategy 2021-2024, and as a whole College we are committed to playing our part in highlighting the impact of climate change on children around the globe. Our position statement on climate change, published ahead of COP26 in October 2021, called on the leaders of every country and their representatives to make human health central to all climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to protect current and future generations of children and young people.

In January 2022 we published our action plan, which sets out our detailed commitment to tackling the climate emergency as an organisation.  This action plan is led by 80 College members across five workstreams working towards six overall ambitions, which include advocating for change in the UK and internationally, advancing research, supporting members, developing training, reducing the College’s carbon footprint, and, importantly, promoting children and young people’s advocacy on the climate crisis.

Members can find out how to get involved in the College’s climate change work here.