Read The BMJ's coverage of COP26 in Glasgow.
COP26 diary: making health central to tackling climate change
In the first of his columns from COP26, Richard Smith reports on why we need to make health central to tackling the climate emergency
COP26 diary: the health clans gather
The mood is upbeat, because health is getting closer to the heart of COP after years of being on the outside, writes Richard Smith
COP26 diary: a moment among the business people
In his third report from COP26, Richard Smith hears how no institution or company can decarbonise alone
COP26 diary: at last, a dinner
The culture of modern medicine leads us to unsustainable excess just as our economies lead us to overconsumption and high emissions of greenhouse gases, says Richard Smith
COP26 diary: Health at last get its big day (well, hour)
Considering that COP26 itself has a substantial carbon footprint, is it all necessary? Is it the best we can do? Richard Smith asks
Climate emergency: what should one do in the face of a failure of government?
As COP26 comes to an end, Bing Jones writes about why he took part in a public protest to highlight the climate emergency
COP26: Fifty countries commit to climate resilient and low carbon health systems
Fifty countries have committed to creating climate resilient, low carbon, sustainable health systems, including 14 countries that have set a target date of reaching net zero emissions by 2050
Rome declaration: G20 leaders fail to make specific commitments to limit temperature rises
World leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Rome agreed that countries must take “meaningful and effective actions” to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
What is healthcare's role in creating a sustainable future?
On Wednesday 10 November 2021, The BMJ hosted a webinar with an expert panel discussing healthcare's role in creating a sustainable future. You can watch the recording of the webinar here
Speaking at the event were Fiona Godlee, Kamran Abbasi, Richard Hurley, Renee Salas, Jodi Sherman, Jerome Baddley, Fawzia Rasheed and Anand Bhopal.
Decarbonising healthcare in low and middle income countries: potential pathways to net zero emissions
Healthcare in low and middle income countries has a high carbon footprint. Reducing emissions should be integral to plans for universal health coverage, say Fawzia Rasheed and colleagues
Net zero healthcare: a call for clinician action
Health professionals are well positioned to effect change by reshaping individual practice, influencing healthcare organisations, and setting clinical standards, argue Jodi Sherman and colleagues
Priority setting and net zero healthcare: how much health can a tonne of carbon buy?
Cutting carbon emissions in healthcare requires trade-offs for clinicians, administrators, and global health policy makers and must be included when evaluating interventions, argue Anand Bhopal and Ole F Norheim
Climate: a world on the edge
In October 2021, The BMJ published a special climate issue. You can read the articles below, or browse the issue in this online e-book
Accelerating climate action: the role of health professionals
Time is running out to reverse, or even halt, the damage done by humanity to our planet. Both individual action and promotion of systemic change are essential
Changing behaviour for net zero 2050
Theresa Marteau and colleagues argue for rapid, radical changes to the infrastructure and pricing systems that currently support unhealthy unsustainable behaviour
From drug discovery to coronaviruses: why restoring natural habitats is good for human health
Biodiversity is the cornerstone of healthy natural habitats. Its preservation is vital to human health and should therefore be embedded into medical and healthcare studies
Covid-19, climate change, and the environment: a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient global recovery
We have an opportunity to transform the global economy and usher in an era of greater wellbeing and prosperity
World’s young demand eco-action
Children in London take part in climate strike marches across the world, organised by Fridays for Future, to demand that governments act immediately to halt and reverse global heating
Health risks of extreme heat
Ensuring equitable solutions to the health harms of extreme heat is crucial, particularly in low income countries
How to achieve a net zero carbon NHS during a pandemic
Despite covid-19, the NHS remains committed to carbon net zero by 2040. Emma Wilkinson asks how this could be possible
A world on the edge of climate disaster
Collectively and individually we must lead by example: driving system change in healthcare, advocating for political action, and educating the public to help safeguard the future of our planet
David Oliver: Outpatient clinics’ role in sustainability
As environmental sustainability and the recovery of NHS elective services are such pressing issues, David Oliver revisits the future of outpatient clinics
Helen Salisbury: The time is now
As well as individual steps, we need action at a national and international level, freed from the lobbying and disinformation of the fossil fuel industry, says Helen Salisbury
Rammya Mathew: Climate action will require radical reform of how we practise medicine
When many other industries are simply paying lip service to the sustainability agenda, it’s encouraging to see change already happening in the NHS
Overdiagnosis is increasing the carbon footprint of healthcare
Tackling overdiagnosis takes on a new urgency in the context of a climate emergency, argue Alexandra Barratt and Forbes McGain
The climate crisis and the rise of eco-anxiety
Levels of eco-anxiety are growing, particularly among children and young people, and are likely to be significant and potentially damaging to individuals and society
How can I be an environmentally conscious healthcare practitioner?
Pat Lok considers what medical students can do to reduce the impact of healthcare on the climate
Talking to patients about the climate emergency
If the NHS is to reach net zero, we need to talk about the climate emergency in every part of the healthcare service
COP26: a missed opportunity for climate leadership
With COP 26, the UK had the opportunity to show the climate leadership it had previously promised, it is unlikely that the needed leadership will emerge in time
Making outpatient care sustainable for the future
Our focus needs to be on working with our patients to ensure their needs are met, say Jen Isherwood and Toby Hillman
A planetary health curriculum for medicine
While this curriculum remains a vision for the future, our health suffers. Let’s stop imagining and make it a reality now
Why I . . . am a green GP
GP Tamsin Ellis talks to Kathy Oxtoby about how working in a green practice not only helps the environment but also enriches patient care
In September 2021, The BMJ and 50 BMJ Journals were among 233 journals across the world to simultaneously publish an editorial calling on world leaders to take emergency action to limit global temperature increases, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.
The editorial was coordinated by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and published ahead of the UN General Assembly, one of the last international meetings taking place before the (COP26) climate conference in Glasgow in November.
This is the first time that so many journals have come together to make the same statement, reflecting the severity of the climate emergency now facing the world.
Listen to Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of The BMJ, on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning talking about the climate emergency and why we have published this editorial now: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000zcd5 (Fi is on at 2:38:22 into programme).
Lessons from the covid-19 pandemic provide a blueprint for the climate emergency
A rapid, coordinated global response is essential, says Renee N Salas
Towards a carbon neutral NHS
New report commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2040
Climate action: the best gift for global health
The health community mobilised against covid-19 and can mobilise again
Protecting the environment from plastic PPE
Greener manufacture, use, and disposal are urgent priorities
A pathway to net zero emissions for healthcare
The healthcare sector has a profound responsibility and opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the widespread health harms of climate change
Climate change threatens the achievement of effective universal healthcare
Minimising the health harms of climate change and optimising universal health coverage will only be achieved through an integrated agenda and aligned solutions
Integrating climate action for health into covid-19 recovery plans
Kristine Belesova and colleagues argue that recovery from the covid-19 pandemic must safeguard the health of current and future generations in the face of the climate emergency
Increases in water scarcity and urbanisation are two of today’s great global health challenges. Dryness, a longstanding reality in much of the world, is becoming increasingly severe and widespread. It is in these contexts that cities face other challenges related to climate change, public health threats. This collection, commissioned in partnership with WISH, shows that healthy dry cities are eminently achievable with the right policies, institutions, technologies, and space for innovation.
In recent decades, the worldwide burden of infectious disease has fallen, thanks to sanitation, hygiene, and prevention and control efforts. But the covid-19 pandemic shows how great a threat to global health remains. This collection, commissioned in partnership with WISH, considers the key threats and showcases evidence informed solutions to monitor, prevent, and control outbreaks.
The Anthropocene epoch is characterised by the dominance of humans over the global environment. We hope this special series will raise awareness of the threats to humanity and natural systems in the Anthropocene epoch, but more importantly will inspire creative and far sighted responses to our era’s pressing challenges.
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change brings together the voices of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals within the UK to advocate for action to combat and prevent climate change, emphasising the substantial co benefits to health of tackling climate change in a fair and equitable way. The founding members of the Alliance include a range of royal medical and nursing colleges, the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Medical Association, The Lancet, and The BMJ. They are coming together to communicate the relationship between health and climate change to government and the health profession.
Taking on the twin challenges of air pollution and climate change, the alliance released "A Breath of Fresh Air" in October 2016. The report considers how integrated strategies could tackle both these challenges together. They recommend better collaboration between agencies and government departments, provide key targets for cutting CO2 and improving air quality, and encourage health professionals to do more.
Read Frank Kelly's editorial in The BMJ, which sets out the context and discusses the importance of the report.
Read the full report on the UKHACC website.