© Global Climate and Health Alliance, via Twitter

Profit trumps people at UN climate meeting

17th December 2018

After overtime negotiations, the COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland this recently agreed on the ‘Paris Rulebook’ - the implementing guidelines of the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 at COP 21.

Health is included in the text of the Paris Agreement, but is by no means mainstreamed in climate discussions. Nonetheless, health discussions at COP 24 spanned NCDs and co-benefit solutions, as well as impacts on infectious disease, malnutrition, health system adaptation and resilience, and the role of health professionals as advocates. 

Key publications launched

Key publications launched in advance of and at the meeting included a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), entitled the 1.5 Health Report, which highlights that any increase in global warming, even an increase by half a degree, could affect human health.

Meanwhile the 2018 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and accompanying resources cover 10 recommendations for action, as well as headline finding that 153 billion hours of labour were lost in 2017 because of heat (an increase of more than 62 billion hours since 2000).

Civil society briefing for negotiators

A joint briefing for UNFCCC Negotiators on Incorporating Health into the Climate Regime was produced by a coalition of health civil society representatives (including the NCD Alliance), coordinated by the Global Climate and Health Alliance.

In stark contrast to tobacco control COP meetings, there was a strong industry presence at COP24. Valuable lessons can be learned from the NCD response in terms of how to combat the efforts of the fossil fuel industry, as for the tobacco, alcohol and sugar industries. NCDA recently co-authored a BMJ article and released a press release covering these issues.

The NCD Alliance led a call to reject the dominant presence of representatives from fossil fuel industries at the summit.