October 26, 2016

350.org on World Medical Association urging health organisations to divest from fossil fuels

 

“A divestment a day keeps the fossil fuel industry away”

GLOBAL — The World Medical Association has urged its 112 national medical association members and other health organisations around the world to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energy.

Yossi Cadan, Global Senior Divestment Campaigner with 350.org said:

“Given the devastating impacts climate change and pollution from fossil fuels have on human health, it’s not surprising that doctors now prescribe divestment from fossil fuel companies. Health organisations, and those that care about the wellbeing of people, should urgently heed the call to distance themselves from companies fueling climate change. Instead, we urgently need to be investing in solutions that benefit communities. A divestment a day keeps the fossil fuel industry away.”

Dr. Dong Chun Shin, who chaired the committee that prepared the World Medical Association’s statement said [1]:

“Evidence from around the world now shows quite conclusively that the effects of climate change and its extreme weather are having a significant and sometimes devastating impact on human health. […] We know that fossil fuel air pollution reduces quality of life for millions of people worldwide, causing a substantial burden of disease, economic loss, and costs to health care systems. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012, approximately seven million people died as a result of air pollution. In many densely populated cities, the fine dust measurable in the air is up to 50 times higher than the recommended level. The health consequences from asthma and heart and lung disease are considerable. The world now needs to transfer to electricity suppliers who are renewable.”

In the past, doctors spoke out against investments in the tobacco industry, which similarly to the fossil fuel industry, and companies such as ExxonMobil, spent decades deceiving the public on the health consequences and dangers resulting from its core business.

In June 2014, the British Medical Association became the first national medical organisation in the world to ban fossil fuel companies from its investments, followed by other health organisations including the Canadian Medical Association, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Gunderson Lutheran Health System, Health Care Without Harm, and SSM Health. They are part of a broad range of over 600 organisations spanning sectors such as educational and faith-based institutions, local governments and pension funds that have decided to pull their funds out of fossil fuel companies. [2] In removing the fossil fuel industry’s social acceptance, the divestment campaign ‘Fossil Free’ aims to erode their political power, which keeps holding back action on climate change.

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Notes to editors:

[1] World Medical Association: Health Organisations urged to divest from Fossil Fuels, 22 October 2016

[2] List of fossil fuel divestment commitments