New report calls to end ‘Unhealthy Investment’
The biggest global health threat of the 21st century is climate change. Millions of premature deaths a year are caused by air pollution from fossil fuels. One of London’s busiest roads, Oxford Street, exceeded the EU legal limit for the whole of 2015 in just four days. On top of this, a comprehensive scientific study in January found that in order to keep global warming below the 2C agreed limit, most of the world’s known exploitable fossil fuels will have to remain in the ground. That’s 80% of coal reserves, 50% of gas reserves and 33% of oil reserves. If governments are to act on their pledge to reduce increases in carbon dioxide, the fossil fuel reserves will become worthless.
With all this in mind, a report by a coalition of medical organisations has called for an end to ‘Unhealthy Investment’. The report argues that the health sector should stop its fossil fuel investment on moral grounds, drawing comparisons to that of the tobacco industry. One of the contributors to the report, public health professor Martin McKee, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has urged the health profession to repeat its leadership shown two decades earlier on tobacco divestment, because of the health risks from climate change and air pollution.
Dr David McCoy, director of health charity Medact, produced the report with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, the Climate and Health Council, Healthy Planet UK, and Medsin. In the report McCoy states that “The link between fossil fuels, air pollution and climate change are clear, and the health impacts are unacceptably high,” saying “This report sends an unequivocal message that the health sector should end its financial association with the fossil fuel industry.”
Read the guardian article here.