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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

PLOS supports the call for urgent, immediate action to address health impacts of climate change in Africa

PLOS stands in support of the more than 250 journals calling for urgent action on climate change for Africa and for the world. Countries in Africa, while reeling from being disproportionately denied access to COVID vaccines, are simultaneously bearing an unfair health burden of the devastating effects of climate change. We agree with the call: this is unjust, unfair, and world leaders have a moral responsibility to act now.

IPCC AR6 shows us that earlier identified trends of Africa being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change continue; with particularly concerning impacts projected (and already being felt) for a range of sectors. These include, but are not limited to, impacts on agriculture and biodiversity, with the latter compounded by other stressors, such as habitat fragmentation,” said Emma Archer, Editor-in-Chief, PLOS Climate. “Both direct and indirect impacts on health are evident; including severe direct impacts of heat stress in urban areas in particular, as well as indirect impacts, for example, the compounded impacts of climate change and habitat fragmentation on the risk of zoonotic disease.”

As world leaders convene in Egypt for COP27, we urge policy makers across disciplines to unite and take bold, decisive action to halt and reverse the devastating and inequitable health effects of climate change. The causes and effects of climate change cannot be investigated or managed from just one discipline, one perspective, or one corner of the world. Furthermore, we call on all researchers to make their results and data openly accessible, so that everyone–in all regions of the world and in all capacities–can contribute to and benefit from advances in knowledge. Sharing research transparently, without delays or restrictions, will ensure everyone has access to trusted scientific evidence for decisions that impact the future health and well-being of all the world’s people and the planet we share.

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