In an editorial, published simultaneously in 233 international journals, including The BMJ, the editors of various health journals urge world leaders to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Noting that the U.N. General Assembly will bring together countries this month to marshal collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis, Lukoye Atwoli, M.B.Ch.B., from the East African Medical Journal, and editors of other journals call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The authors note that the risks to health of increases above 1.5 degrees Celsius are well established, with increasing heat-related mortality among adults older than 65 years during the last 20 years.

The most vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected, including children, older populations, and ethnic minorities. Global heating is also contributing to the decrease in global yield potential for major crops, which is hampering efforts to reduce undernutrition.

Furthermore, thriving ecosystems are essential to human health, and the destruction of nature is eroding water and food security.

“Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world,” the authors wrote.

“We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course.”


REFERENCE: Atwoli et al: Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health;