Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Climate change

The most important global public health agreement of the century

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 17 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6878
Infographic: Climate change health impacts
Click here to see an interactive graphic, summarising the impacts on health predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  1. Josh Karliner, director, global projects, Health Care Without Harm, San Francisco, USA
  1. josh{at}

If fully implemented, the recent UN agreement to reduce climate change would reap health benefits

The new United Nations climate treaty recently agreed by representatives of 195 countries in Paris is far from perfect, but, by committing nearly every country’s government to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, it takes a major step toward staving off the worst effects of climate change.

Not just about polar bears

This accord could become known as the greatest public health accomplishment of our time, forestalling what is widely acknowledged as the greatest public health threat this century. It has become increasingly clear that climate change is not just about polar bears but also about clean air. It’s not just about endangered species but also a growing burden of disease. Reversing climate change would protect everyone’s health.

Health leaders have also begun to see other opportunities in mitigating climate change. If we can move away from hazardous coal, oil, and gas—the …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription