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Speeding up and scaling up finance into clean energy and energy efficiency, greening infrastructure, sustaining ecosystems like forests and coral reefs and enabling countries and communities to adapt is essential to staying below 2C degrees. Check out what's happening and how to benefit.

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Given the increasing awareness that climate change poses an urgent threat to human health, civil society has issued a letter urging the health sector to help lead the transformation to a low-carbon, climate-resilient society by divesting from fossil fuels and investing in healthy, sustainable alternatives. The call comes in the wake of a landmark international conference on health and climate organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) that was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27-29 August 2014. The letter states:

Our task is to end our dependency on fossil fuels, a move that can help tackle both climate change and the rise in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and asthma.

The letter says that just as the health sector has divested from tobacco, it now needs to act on this even greater threat by transferring financial resources away from fossil fuels and towards clean, healthy, renewable energy through a “divest-invest” framework.

Read the letter

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The WHO conference brought together health, climate and sustainable development professionals to discuss how to enhance resilience and protect health from climate change; identify the health benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and support health-promoting climate change policies.

In a keynote speech at the Conference, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke of the substantial health benefits that a transition to renewable energy would bring, saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs, particularly by reducing air pollution:

Climate change is not a disease. Climate change is the symptom. The disease is humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation and land use that depletes natural resources.

Read full speech 

Photo by Tom Verhoeve

Pollution photo by Kim Seng

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