With the upcoming UN Climate change conference COP-15 almost upon us, the editors of the open access journal Global Health Action have published a special collection of articles highlighting the effects of climate change on health. The collection is packaged as part of the latest issue, so you’ll need to scroll down to find specific articles.
According to Maria Neira (Director, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization, Geneva) writing in a foreword to the collection the set of articles considers health in an extremely broad sense and includes good representation of authors from low and middle-income countries. The 23 featured articles are on two main themes – the effects of heat on human health and the effects of climate change on infectious disease.
In a provocative guest editorial Rainer Sauerborn, Tord Kjellstrom and Maria Nilsson state that ‘There are three strong reasons for the climate policy community to consider health impacts: 1) the impacts are large, increasing and inequitably distributed; 2) the majority of people everywhere are concerned about the protection of their own and their children’s health and are hence prepared to support mitigation policies; and 3) certain mitigation policies have significant positive health ‘co-benefits’, and these should be quantified and promoted to support mitigation arguments.’. They go on to call for those attending COP-15 to fill research gaps, develop and monitor adaptation strategies, and to use health as a driver for global climate polices.
Global Health Action is an international peer-reviewed Open Access journal affiliated with the Centre for Global Health Research (CGH) at Umeå University, Sweden (the journal’s Deputy Editor is Peter Byass, who is also on PLoS Medicine’s editorial board). COP-15, a meeting of policy-makers from 192 countries, will be held in Copenhagen from the 7th to the 18th of December, 2009.