Climate change: 'WHO should now declare a public health emergency'
British Medical Journal 1 Oct 2014

Emergency signal

 ALERT Oct 2014  

Please write to the WHO and your government urging the declaration of a global climate health emergency, proposed by the BMJ   

Global Warming Thermometer

This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action.
— Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, 2007

Urgent Emergency Actions

We need medical professionals and their associations to write to their governments in 2015 advising them:

  • of the environmental and public health planetary emergency 
  • Stop subidizing fossil fuels and change the full cost of carbon 
  • and to make the IPCC AR5 emergency response best case emissions scenario (RCP2.6) their national policy on climate and energy.

The world desperately needs a strong collective voice from our leading institutions, particularly healthcare professionals, urging that the climate change planetary emergency be acknowledged and put front and centre at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.

The 2015 Paris Agreement only has non binding intended national emissions targets and no specific measures to reduce emissions.


Support the pledge initiative and declaration of the Climate and Health Council, an international alliance based in the United Kingdom.

  • Physicians can read and support the position statements developed by other professional healthcare associations.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics [pdf]

  • American Medical Association [pdf]

  • American Public Health Association

  • International Council of Nurses [pdf]

  • World Health Assembly

  • Advocate for future generations and populations who are especially vulnerable to climate change. Do this by speaking up

  • within local associations
  • regionally
  • nationally
  • within international and specialty professional associations

  • Seek ways to create a cross-professional voice by working with

  • physicians
  • nurses in all fields
  • public health professionals
  • all healthcare practitioners
  • human rights advocates and aid workers
  • educators
  • law professionals
  • religious leaders

  • Support leaders who are or should be sounding the alarm on the climate change emergency, by sending a letter of support or encouragement to

  • Reduce carbon footprints, at all levels.
  • individual/family
  • clinic/practice/hospital
  • health authority and professional association meetings and conferences

  • Follow up. Visit the Follow Up page for ideas on disseminating what you have learned about the global climate change emergency.

Global Warming Thermometer

While recognising that solutions depend on government policies, we believe that general practitioners are well placed to constructively influence this debate. [...] In our view, the capacity of the medical voice to influence long term government policies on environmental issues including climate change should not be underestimated.
— Grant Blashki, MD, Colin D. Butler, PhD, and Suzie Brown

The mission of CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE includes contributing to a global response of health and other concerned professionals who will inform leaders of government, institutions and professions, on an ethics-driven and scientific (non political) basis, that there is now a dangerous threat to the survival of civilization, of many vulnerable populations, and ultimately of humanity itself.

The immediate objective is to encourage governments to declare the global climate change emergency, and to inform healthcare associations and other professional organizations (national, regional, local) of the urgent need to make their voices heard internationally, especially at ongoing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks.

To facilitate these goals, this website suggests several effective actions suitable for busy professionals. It provides well researched wording for declarations and position statements on the climate change planetary emergency, and supplies the necessary links for forwarding these statements to the appropriate people and institutions.

Global Warming Thermometer

Action on climate change has been likened to teenage sex. Everyone claims to be in on the action, but only a few are, and those not very effectively.... Health professionals have a track record of identifying and helping resolve serious public health issues. We are well placed to play a leadership role. Indeed it is a role we should not shirk. So what should we do?.... 

By personal and collective action, health professionals can contribute to the health of our own and future generations. By contributing your ideas, deploying your advocacy skills, and making your personal commitments. We can then justly say to our descendants that we played our part in preserving the integrity of our beautiful but fragile world.

— Robin Stott, Chair of the BMJ Carbon Council and Fiona Godlee,
British Medical Journal Editor

Return from Emergency Action to Evidence 

Go to the Climate Change Emergency Declaration Page 

Go from Emergency Action to Follow-up Resources 

Go to Climate Change Emergency Medical Response Homepage