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Climate changes and the causes the global warming are now well documented (1). What we should not forget, is that climate changes not only affect temperatures. Climate also influences our health (2), and without a sustainable climate, we will not have sustainable health. In a review article published in the Lancet in 2009, global warming was described as the most serious threat to global health in the 21st century (2). Serious health consequences of climate change predicted are diseases due to lack of water, draught and falling food production, more extreme weather, heat waves, higher sea levels and mass migration.

We are running out of time to act in order to prevent serious climate changes and to limit the damages to life and health (3). We need to change, or to quote David Lloyd George: “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm with two small jumps.” In order to inform the society about consequences of climate change, we have established the Norwegian network on climate and health.

The network consists of individuals and institutions that want to stimulate to ENGAGEMENT in environmental responsible actions. Members are encouraged to measure and reduce their personal CO2 emissions, and to stimulate individuals, organizations and institutions, in particular within the health sector, to reductions in emissions of greenhouse gasses. Further, the purpose is to INFORM about the health consequences of climate change and necessary mitigation measures. In this way we want to INFLUENCE politicians and other important stake holders for taking necessary actions for rapid reductions in emissions of climate gasses in order to prevent serious health consequences. The network publishes the electronic journal ‘Bærekraftig helse’ (“Sustainable health”).

The consequences of climate changes may be compared to the damage that can be caused by the use of atomic weapons. Health workers have engaged themselves in the prevention of nuclear war. In a simlar manner we should also engage to fight against detrimental climate changes.

References:

1. IPCC Core Writing Team, Pachauri RK, Reisinger A: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. 2007.

2. Costello A, Abbas M, Allen A et al. Managing the health effects of climate change. Lancet 2009; 373: 1693–1733.

3. The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU): Climate change: Why 2°C?http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_factsheet_2_en.html. WBGU, Berlin; 2009.3. Baer P, Athanasiou

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