Doctors and climate change

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39412.488021.80 (Published 29 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1104
  1. Mike Gill, retired southeast regional chair of public health1,
  2. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief2,
  3. Richard Horton, editor in chief3,
  4. Robin Stott, vice chair4
  1. 1London NW6 4DG
  2. 2BMJ, London WC1H 9JR
  3. 3Lancet, London NW1 7BY
  4. 4Medact, London N1 6HT
  1. stott{at}dircon.co.uk

    Health professionals have a duty to be part of the solution

    One of the two duties of a doctor laid down by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom is “to protect and promote the health of . . . the public.”1 Should this duty extend to working to prevent climate change? We believe it should.

    Climate change leads to the extinction of species. During the past 500 million years—a mere 10th of the world's history—five major and many minor events have caused extinctions. The last major event eliminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. An extraterrestrial object 10 km in diameter slammed into what is now the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. It caused firestorms, a tsunami 1 km high, planet wide darkness for months, and an extended period of carbon dioxide induced global warming. Within a few months of the event, the 150 million year reign of the dinosaurs was …

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