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UKHACC Bulletin November 2022

18th November 2022
Updates, opportunities, and resources on climate action.

As COP27 got underway at the beginning of last week, 37 health leaders from UKHACC organisations wrote to COP26 President, Alok Sharma calling on him to use his leadership to put health at the forefront of discussions, recognise the catastrophic health harms linked to inaction, and the significant co-benefits that flow from positive progress. In our letter, we shared policy recommendations from the global health community, specific policy recommendations for the UK, and an editorial on how critical financing for vulnerable countries is to make progress globally. We were pleased to see Alok Sharma meet with the Head of the WHO Climate Change Unit, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum who completed the 1500km Ride for their Lives cycle from Geneva to Naples before the conference.

As COP27 now draws to a close, we await the publication of the outcomes of the negotiations. Some announcements and progress that has taken place over the last two weeks include:

News

Environment Targets complaint to DEFRA

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change has joined with members of the Healthy Air Campaign, Wildlife and Countryside Link and Greener UK coalitions to submit a formal complaint to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for breaching the legal duty to set environmental targets by 31 October 2022, which it failed to do. In the complaint, we request targets to be published as soon as possible and for a remedial action plan to be put in place to address this breach at the earliest opportunity.

Healthcare professionals acquitted for bridge blockade

Seven healthcare professionals facing a charge of ‘breach of section 14’ were acquitted at City of London magistrates’ court earlier this week following a ruling by the judge that the necessary steps required for imposition of section 14 had not been taken. The judge remarked on acquittal that she was impressed by the integrity and rationality of the healthcare professionals’ belief and said their evidence was highly moving.

Policy recommendations and calls for action

Global health community policy recommendations

The health community policy recommendations for COP27, produced under the leadership of the Global Climate and Health Alliance called for the consideration of health impacts of climate change, and the health benefits of ambitious action to be incorporated into COP27 negotiations in the priority areas of loss and damage, adaptation, mitigation, and finance.

2022 Lancet Countdown

The key message from the 2022 Lancet Countdown global report was that “The health of people around the world is at the mercy of a persistent fossil fuel addiction.” The report found that despite the health harms, governments and companies in both high- and low-income countries continue to prioritise fossil fuel interests.

Lancet Countdown UK Policy Brief

The 2022 Lancet Countdown UK policy briefing was published on 26 October to coincide with the launch of the global report. The UK policy brief was developed in partnership between the UKHACC, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Nursing, and British Medical Association.

Editorial from Africa

On 19 October, an editorial co-authored by 16 biomedical editors from across the continent of Africa was published in 259 international health journals. The editorial calls on wealthy nations to step up support for Africa and vulnerable countries in addressing past, present and future impacts of climate change. The editorial says it is imperative that the suffering of frontline nations is at the core of COP27 negotiations because in an interconnected world, environmental shocks in vulnerable nations have severe consequences for all nations.

Get involved

WHO and WMO – ClimaHealth

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have jointly launched ClimaHealth, a global open-access platform to provide technical information on climate change and health to interdisciplinary users. They are currently creating a directory of international and national organisations working towards reducing the health impacts of climate change. Submit details to admin@climahealth.info to be added to the list of expert groups.

Petition to British Cycling

More than 1,800 people have signed a petition calling on British Cycling to renounce its sponsorship from Shell. The announcement of Shell as British Cycling’s official sponsor was met with disappointment by many individuals and organisations calling for an urgent transition away from fossil fuel use.  The petition highlights the incompatibility of aligning cycling with one of the world’s biggest polluters and major oil companies. The petition comes on the back of an open letter to British Cycling signed by 700 organisations and individuals, including UKHACC Chair, Richard Smith, calling on them to drop their sponsorship deal with the oil giant Shell.

Courses and Events

UKHACC IN CONVERSATION LUNCHTIME SESSIONS

A number of sessions are open for registration in our popular lunchtime sessions. These events are held online from 12.00-13.30 on the dates indicated below. Session involve presentations by leading experts followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

1 December 2022 | Mobilising health on air pollution

Clean Air Specialist, Dr Malcolm White will present the outcomes of a pilot study with a group of health professionals, which was completed by Global Action Plan, Imperial College and UKHACC. After presenting the outcomes, there will be an opportunity to discuss how the health community can now take forward the recommendations on communicating the important message about air pollution to their patients. Register here

14 December 2022 | How the health community can lead in the transition to more sustainable diets

What role do health professionals play in the transition to more sustainable diets, with case studies and survey outcomes. The panel includes Laura Freeman and Shireen Kassam, Plant-Based Health Professionals; Kristin Bash, Faculty of Public Health; Laura-Jane Freeman, King’s College Hospital. Registration opens soon. Register here

18 January 2023 | Progress towards a net zero health service in the UK

Health leaders from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will provide an update on current plans and progress towards delivering a net zero health service. The panel includes Marc Davies, Public Health Wales; Gregor Smith, CMO Scotland; Nick Watts, Greener NHS England. Registration opening soon.

Climate Change & Mental Health: Exploring Responses Across Cultures

21 November | 15.00 – 16.30 | Online

A panel discussion about the complex association of mental health and the health of the environment and ecosystem, jointly organised by Flourishing Diversity, Wellcome Centre at University of Exeter and Wellcome Centre at University of Oxford. The panellists include Dr.Elaine C. Flores (Peruvian medical doctor and Planetary health research fellow at the LSHTM), David Finnigan (writer and game designer), and Ayesha Ahmad (Senior lecturer in Global Health at St. George’s University, London). Join the webinar here.

Inequality and Climate Change in a Future Wales: from stories to policy and action 

23 November | 14.00 – 15.30

Climate action has the potential to exacerbate existing health inequalities in Wales and therefore the vulnerable communities need to be included in decision-making. Join this event by the Public Health Wales and the Office for the Future Generations Commissioner to learn about the creative story-telling method and how to include less-heard communities in climate policy decisions. This event is a part of the Wales Climate Week from 21 to 25 November 2022. Further details are available here.

5th Saving Lives Sustainably: Sustainable Production in the Health Sector Global Forum

23 & 24 November | Online

The theme for 2022 is “Supply Chains for Sustainable Health Care: Production and Procurement to Accelerate Social and Environmental Action.”  The event is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with other organisations (full list here). It is an opportunity for suppliers, manufacturers, policymakers, academics and others actively involved in sustainable global health and healthcare services to participate in discussions on a range of topics on environment and social sustainability in production, supply chain, and delivery of healthcare services as well as waste management. Register here.

Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Joint Public Health Conference

30 November | 10.00-16.00 (online)

The 2022 Joint North-South Public Health Conference will focus on how the global climate crisis is impacting health. Speakers include Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government; Dr Maria Neira, World Health Organisation; Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer, NHS England; Professor John Barry, Queen’s University Belfast; and Dr Jenny Mack, Institute of Public Health. Book here.

2022 Fulbright Distinguished Lecture on the urgency of global climate action

9 December 2022 | 18.30 | Kings College London

The 2022 Fulbright Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for the climate. He will speak about the urgency of climate action at the global level. The event will be held at King’s College, London. Register here.

Delivering Sustainable Patient Outcomes to Achieve Net Zero

9 December 2022 | 12.00 – 13.15

The session discusses engagement and delivery of sustainable healthcare by frontline workers and shared decision-making between patients and clinicians to achieve the Net-Zero NHS target. This will be delivered by Minna Eii, the vice chairman of sustainability at the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists. Register here.

Nature & the NHS – How Biodiversity Benefits Mental Health & the Planet

2 February 2023 | 12.00 – 13.00

A wide range of benefits of ecotherapy and biodiversity for patients and the planet will be discussed. The panel consists of Dr Caroline Jessel, Chair of the South East Nature Partnership, founder of Dandelion Time, GP and former NHS England Lead for the South Regional Sustainability and Health Network & Dr Jacob Kraznowski, specialist registrar in general adult psychiatry at NHS South London. Register here.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Courses

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare offers a number of opportunities for learning through short courses, foundation-level courses, and technical courses including carbon footprinting for healthcare, sustainability in quality improvement and teaching sustainable quality improvement. Please check out the website to see what’s available.

New resources

The Climate Book

The Climate Book, created by Greta Thunberg, features the insights of more than one hundred experts with a message of hope – but only if we listen to the science before it is too late.

Communicating climate justice with young adults in Europe

A new report by Climate Outreach explores how young people across Europe understand and respond to climate justice messaging, alongside key insights and recommendations for how advocates can more effectively and powerfully communicate climate justice.

RCPCH eBulletin

Sign up for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s newly launched Climate Change eBulletin, with news, events and ways to get involved in tackling climate change.

Reducing the carbon footprint of end-of-life care

A recording of our lunchtime session can be accessed here. The webinar included presentations on:

Reports, articles and videos

We’ve pulled together a list of recent reports, articles and videos that are worth reading, watching and sharing.

Presented by Royal College of Physicians special adviser on air pollution, Sir Stephen Holgate, this video explores the growing health issues around indoor air pollution, particularly its impact on children and younger people. Free to watch on RCP player, but you’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one.

A report on a talk Richard Smith gave to the BMA international committee on why the medical community needs to take a central role in highlighting the global climate emergency.

 The Lancet publication says that while climate change will affect everyone, the consequences are unevenly distributed and fall much harder on some communities than others. Racism kills, and climate change kills – together racism and climate change interact and have disproportionate effects on the lives of minoritized people.

A letter from the Chairman of the Climate Change Committee to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, on 9 November highlighting the failure to deliver energy efficient measures to reduce energy demand. The letter says that over 60% of households can achieve levels of energy efficiency compatible with net zero for less than £1,100.

A letter to the BMJ outlining how the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change is bringing health professionals together to call for action.

There doesn’t need to be a trade-off between sustainability and the cost-of-living crisis, Michael Marmot says in this BMJ article.

This article reports on a message from Dr Maria Neira, director of public health policy at WHO, that “the combustion of fossil fuels is literally, literally killing us.”

Please share

Please feel free to forward this newsletter onto anyone you think might be interested. Anyone can sign up to receive this newsletter by clicking this link: https://action.ukhealthalliance.org/page/69209/subscribe/1

If you’ve got information about resources, campaigns, or events you would like to be included in the next edition, please send them to elaine.mulcahy@ukhealthalliance.org . The next bulletin will be published on 16 December 2022.