UKHACC Bulletin July 2023
Following publication of the annual Climate Change Committee (CCC) report in June, the Chair Lord Deben wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that the UK is lagging behind the US and Europe, and that inaction has been compounded by continuing support for further unnecessary investment in fossil fuels. He called on the government to act urgently to correct the failures of the past year.
The International Energy Agency has reported that fossil fuel subsidies reached an all time high, rising above USD 1 trillion for the first time, in 2022, amid the global energy crisis. The IEA warns that lessons must be learned regarding the unsustainability of our current energy system – “high fossil fuel prices are no substitute for consistent climate policies.”
Lord Deben writes: “Our children will not forgive us if we leave them a world of withering heat and devastating storms where sea level rises and extreme temperatures force millions to move because their countries are no longer habitable. None of us can avoid our responsibility. Delay is not an option.”
An end to all subsidies, investments, new licences and consent for fossil fuels while ensuring a just transition to renewable energy must be urgently addressed and implemented now.
News and updates
Peers urged to support amendment to reduce health inequalities and improve wellbeing
UKHACC chair, Richard Smith, has written to peers urging support for an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that would reduce health inequities and improve well being. The call reflects a policy brief we published earlier this year outlining the clear linkages between the built environment and health, climate change and biodiversity outcomes that can be achieved by the bill.
Launch of GreenED
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has launched the first sustainability framework to measure and reduce the environmental impact of Emergency Departments in the UK. GreenED outlines evidence-based actions, divided into bronze, silver and gold levels, with the guidelines and resources required to help achieve them. Successful completion of all the actions at a given level leads to formal accreditation by RCEM. Find out more.
CMO Scotland report
The third annual report on Realistic Medicine by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Gregor Smith, has been published. The report – Doing the Right Thing – focuses on delivering value based health and care to deliver a more sustainable system. It calls for a move away from transactional care to one that nurtures trust and belonging, reconnecting to the purpose of health and care services. Read the report here.
NHS England call for evidence on six major conditions
The UKHACC has called for air pollution, climate change and access to nature to be considered in the government’s strategy for tackling the six major conditions: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health, and musculoskeletal disorders. Read the response here.
Have your say
Human Rights Bill (Scotland): Right to a healthy environment
The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on a Human Rights Bill, which will incorporate a range of rights into Scots law for the first time. One of the proposals being considered is the inclusion of the right to a health environment. Inclusion in the Bill would place the environment at the heart of government decisions and help to deliver a safer climate, healthier ecosystems, and lower pollution. The consultation closes on 5 October 2023. Have your say here.
Plant Based Treaty
The UKHACC has recently added its support to a global treaty to put food systems at the heart of combating the climate crisis. The Plant Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture, to promote a shift to healthy, sustainable plant-based diets, and to actively reverse damage done to planetary functions, ecosystem services and biodiversity. Individuals and organisations can support the treaty here.
2023 Global Creative Competition
The Global 2023 Creative Competition invites healthcare professions students around the world to submit creative responses on the theme Healthy Planet, Healthy People. Submissions in the form of visual arts, performing arts, literature or ‘anything else that your imagination can think of’ are welcome. Find out more here.
Art to Save the Planet: #CreateCOP prize
The #CreateCOP prize is open to applicants, providing a platform for creatives to be seen and heard – especially members of marginalised communities, highlighting the unique ways in which they view the perils of climate change. The competition aims to help connect the dots for positive change by creating links between people, platforms, businesses, governments and organisations around the world.
Courses and Events
In partnership with the Carbon Literacy Project and E-learning for Healthcare, Greener NHS has developed a new training programme suitable for anyone working in the NHS, but particularly suited to aspiring or new green champions/sustainability staff. The eLearning component is always free to NHS staff; Greener NHS has also funded 120 workshop places which will be delivered by a training provider. Training involves two steps:
- Step one: Complete five eLearning modules on climate science, impacts, policy, climate change and health, and effective climate communication. Sign up here.
- Step two: In person or online half day workshop, with a few short home-based tasks. Sign up here.
Greening transport in your area
Low Traffic Future are running a series of workshops in Birmingham, Bristol, York, London and Manchester to provide information on how to get involved in activity to press for a low traffic future in your area, meet others with similar interests, and engage with your council. Find out more here.
24 July 2023 | 2.30 PM
Consultation – WHO Climate and Health Communications Toolkit
The WHO and Health Canada are developing a Guidance for Health Professionals on communicating publicly about climate change. If you are a working health professional, or someone who works directly with health professionals you can register and provide input that would help develop a guidance for health professionals to be an active and influential voice on climate action. Register here.
27 July 2023 | 3 PM (Geneva time)
The Global Climate and Health Alliance: Mitigating Methane – A Global Health Strategy
The GCHA is launching a major methane report and conducting a workshop on international health and methane strategy. Register to join the workshop and contribute, learn and collaborate on this major contributor of global warming.
9-10 September 2023 | Imperial College, London
VegMed London 2023
VegMed London 2023 is a collaboration between Plant-Based Health Professionals UK and PAN International – Physicians Association for Nutrition, and supported by ProVeg International, with the overarching theme of ‘Bringing plant-based nutrition into healthcare’. The conference will bring together health professionals, scientists, researchers and policy makers committed to supporting the transition to a plant-based food system. Click here for more information and to book your tickets.
4 October 2023 | Online (Free)
President’s Webinar: Climate Change and Sustainability in Healthcare
The Royal College Of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow are organising a webinar that will provide practical hints and tips on how to design and deliver more environmentally sustainable healthcare. There will also be a Trainee Sustainable Healthcare Competition for which the deadline for abstract submission is 20th September. Further information and registration link can be found here.
10 October 2023 | BMA House, London and Online [Hybrid event]
Net Zero Clinical Care Conference
To support our clinical colleagues across the NHS through the upcoming junior doctors industrial action, the BMJ and UKHACC have made the difficult decision to postpone the net zero clinical care conference from 14 July to 10 October 2023. All those who had previously registered to attend on 14 July have been sent an email confirming their registration for the 10 October. Anyone who has not yet registered can join virtually or be added to a waiting list to attend in person. Further details are available here.
21-22 October 2023 | Hybrid – New York, USA
Climate and Health Conference 2023
The conference is being organised to bring attention to the importance of climate change from a human health standpoint and build connections within the health community prior to COP28. Further details can be found here.
City Rankings report
Clean Cities Campaign has published its ranking of 42 cities’ performance in combating air pollution and climate change on a range of indicators: shared bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters; electric car sharing; zero emissions buses; and installing electric vehicle charging points. The UK has performed poorly, with Greater Manchester bottom of the ranking. London was the highest ranking UK city, coming in at 24th. Copenhagen, Oslo and Paris were the highest three ranking cities.
Irish College of General Practitioners Toolkit
ICGP has developed a toolkit for sustainable practice-based actions and activities for general practice. Although tailored to Irish general practice, many of the practical tools described will be relevant to all practices. The focus is on minimising the environmental impact of clinical interventions and improve efficiencies of running a practice time, economy, patient engagement with local services, supports and resources.
Reports, articles and videos
We’ve pulled together a list of recent reports, articles and videos worth reading, watching and sharing.
- UKHACC Chair, Richard Smith says we need to move away from our individualistic view of the world and recognise our profound interdependence with each other and nature in this blog piece: perhaps only degrowth can save us.
- UKHACC Director, Elaine Mulcahy writes that targets for measuring health and wellbeing are critical to the success of the Levelling Up Bill
- In this BMJ article, Maggie Rae (Royal Society of Medicine) and public health registrars Maria van Hove and Anya Gopfert, warn that lack of preparation for climate-related flooding is a serious cause for concern for health services
- The UN has warned that climate change is out of control after the hottest week on record
- This UNEP infographic highlights why 1.5C is so important. Further details available on the main webpage here.
- This BBC news piece warned that an internal government document suggested the Uk Government might break its climate and nature funding pledge for developing countries.
- A review published in Lancet Planetary Health reported clear evidence that low emission zones in cities reduce heart and circulatory problems
- This excellent article in the Guardian summarises eight key measures the IPCC report says governments must take to avoid the worst of climate change
- This Nature Medicine study shows that record-breaking heat in the 2022 summer is estimated to have cause +60,000 deaths in Europe
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