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A healthy alternative to climate change negotiations

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3741
  1. Robin Stott, co-chairman of the Climate and Health Council
  1. stott{at}

    The international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen are only weeks away. And the crucial preparatory meeting, at which most of the real negotiations will be finalised, takes place in New York next week. Two months ago I attended a similar conference at Chatham House. Let’s hope this wasn’t a dress rehearsal for what’s to come.

    Climate change and the disparity in access to resources between the rich and the poor are the defining public health problems of the 21st century. Tackling climate change has the potential to transform the health of the rich and the poor (Lancet 2009;373:1693-733). Most people rate good health as high on their list of wants, so knowing about the benefits to health of tackling climate change will predispose the public to support the radical action we need. The optimistic message that what is good for climate change is also good for health must be widely disseminated.

    So the Chatham house conference, featuring senior negotiators from across the globe and influential members of civil society, should have been packed with health professionals, but as has so often been the case in these forums I was the only one present. As ever, the …

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