Christian Aid welcomes report on climate change health threats

By agency reporter
June 23, 2015

Christian Aid has welcomed the findings of a report by UK medical journal The Lancet, giving a stark warning about the threat to health caused by climate change.

Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principle Climate Change Advisor, said climate change threatened to undo much of the health gains made in recent years.

She said: “Climate change is effectively development in reverse. The world has made huge progress in the last 50 years reducing poverty and eradicating disease. But this report shows that climate change has the potential to unravel much of this good work.

“Climate change threatens health directly through heat waves, drought and floods, as well as from secondary impacts such as displacement, malnutrition and mental health problems.

“The report is right to point out though that by tackling climate change by embracing a low carbon world there are huge opportunities for better global health and addressing other concerns such as migration and food insecurity.

“Christian Aid partners have experience of this first hand. In Malawi the use of improved cooking stoves reduce deforestation and take polluting wood smoke out of the house. In Zimbabwe climate resilient agriculture protects against changing rainfall and increases food production, and in the Philippines early flood warning systems save lives and help people recover their livelihoods more quickly after a disaster.

“The health benefits from better air quality through phase out of coal burning are obvious but renewable energy can also enable clinics in remote areas to keep medication refrigerated and provides power and light to allow better care to be given through the night.”

Dr Doig also welcomed the intervention from Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who wrote in the New York Times over the weekend with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church about the health implications of climate change.

She said: “With the leaders of the Anglican Communion and Eastern Orthodox Church joining with Pope Francis we now have all three major strands of the Christian church speaking with a unified voice on climate change.

“Justin Welby is absolutely right to highlight the plight of the poor and call for a strong outcome at the UN summit in Paris which will put us on track to decarbonise in the coming years.”

* Christian Aid


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