Christiana Figueres stresses on effective climate deal in Paris

Calls humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels a disease

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Wednesday 27 August 2014


UNFCCC executive secretary, Christiana Figueres, who spoke at the WHO conference on climate and health conference on Wednesday, called on health ministers to support an effective universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.

“It does not take much scientific research to show the current effects of climate change on public health. Using fossil fuels to meet growing energy demand is increasing respiratory diseases and cancer from carbon pollution. Changes to rainfall patterns is causing a scarcity of clean, safe water to some places and floods to other places, with the respective host of health problems and food insecurity to each. And global temperature increase is expanding the range of vector and water-borne diseases,” she said. 

As the world becomes hotter and more densely populated, and as the demand for food, water and energy grows, these health impacts will exponentially spread and accelerate, potentially overpowering the response capacity of health and disaster reconstruction sectors, she added.

“However, climate change is not a disease. Climate change is actually the symptom. The disease is something we rarely admit. The disease is humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation and land use that depletes natural resources,” Figueres said.

Effective response
To correct the worsening situation, there is need of an effective response. According to her, at the heart of an effective response to climate change is the challenge of taking responsibility for actions and, above all,, making tough decisions to change the patterns that have been at the base of development 

The official said that the governments at the international level under the UNFCCC are progressing towards a new, universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.

This agreement will be universal and applicable to all countries. It will address current and future emissions. If strong enough, it will prevent the worst and chart a course toward a world with clean air and water, abundant natural resources and happy, healthy populations, all the requirements for positive growth.

In early 2015, the draft agreement that governments are currently authoring will be brought by environment ministers to the cabinets of each of countries, the official declared, requesting all health ministers present on the occasion to discuss the strengths and shortcomings of the draft agreement. 

The official further requested, “I ask you to support your colleagues, Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs, by endorsing a meaningful agreement, an agreement so strong that it improves the quality of life for citizens now and for generations to come.”


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