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Health to be centre of fight against climate change

26th November 2009

Health should be at the centre of the UK’s fight against climate change, according to Health Secretary Andy Burnham.

At the launch of a new report on Health and Climate Change, Mr Burnham made the case for policies that improve health as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report calls on health ministers and professionals across the world to recognise the danger that climate change poses to health, in the run up to the UN conference in Copenhagen in December.

Key findings of the document show that health could be improved through: changes towards a low carbon transport system could reduce the health impacts of urban air pollution and physical inactivity; housing insulation to reduce deaths in extreme weather; and less solid fuel burned to cut pollution.

Mr Burnham said: “Climate change can seem a distant, impersonal threat - in fact, the associated costs to health are a very real and present danger.

“Health Ministers across the globe must act now to highlight the risk global warming poses to the health of our communities. We need well-designed climate change policies that drive health benefits.

“This is a landmark year for climate change, with the world coming together at the Copenhagen conference in December.

“The call to action does not end there – this is the start of a journey in which small but committed changes can make a significant difference to global health.”

International Development Minister Mike Foster said that climate change and health are two of the biggest barriers to tackling poverty.

 

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