Climate Crisis Could Cause ‘Catastrophic Harm’ to Human Health, 200-Plus Medical Journals Warn

Oct 25, 2023

Co-ordinated editorial calls on World Health Organization to declare global health emergency

More than 200 medical journals are calling on the World Health Organization to deem two overlapping environmental crises — climate change and biodiversity loss — as a global health emergency, while warning of the potential for “catastrophic harm” to human health.

In the co-ordinated editorial published on Wednesday, a team of authors outlined the dire impacts linked to rising temperatures, extreme weather events and the loss of wildlife.

The world’s health-related environmental challenges are now severe, the group wrote, from the spread of infectious diseases, to the rise of waterborne infections, to the health impacts of air pollution. Changes in land use, for instance, have forced “tens of thousands of species into closer contact,” increasing the exchange of pathogens and fuelling the emergence of new diseases.

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