A groundbreaking declaration has been put forward by an unprecedented alliance of over 40 million health professionals globally, calling for decisive and immediate action to address climate-related health issues. This declaration was presented at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), highlighting the urgent need to mitigate the impact of climate change on human health.

The rallying of such an extensive network of health professionals underscores the growing recognition within the medical community of the climate crisis as a public health emergency. The statement issued draws attention to the severe health consequences that result from rising global temperatures and advocates for policies that prioritize health within climate action plans.

Climate Crisis: A Health Emergency

Air pollution, extreme weather events, and the spread of infectious diseases are but a few of the dire consequences of climate change that pose significant risks to human health. The health professionals’ statement, as outlined in the Saudi Medical Journal, emphasizes that these climate-induced health issues are escalating and demand urgent attention.

Healthcare systems worldwide are already feeling the strain of dealing with the increased burden that climate change has placed on them. From the growing number of heatstroke cases to the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever, the medical community is at the forefront of witnessing the adverse effects of a warming planet.

The Demand for Action at COP28

At the heart of the professionals’ demand is the call for governments to implement bold measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and invest in sustainable healthcare infrastructures. The authors of the declaration insist that these steps are crucial not just for the health of the planet, but for the well-being of all populations, particularly the most vulnerable.

The timing of the COP28 is critical, as it marks a decisive moment for world leaders to renew their commitments to the Paris Agreement and bolster their national plans to tackle climate change. The health professionals’ call provides an added layer of moral imperative to the proceedings, highlighting the undeniable linkage between environmental stability and global health.

The Scientific Community’s Support

The declaration has garnered endorsements from renowned healthcare institutions and research bodies, reflecting the scientific community’s consensus on the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. References to the statement can be found in the ‘Saudi Medical Journal,’ along with supporting evidence illustrating the relationship between environmental changes and health outcomes (DOI: 10.15537/smj.2024.45.1.38220234)

Global Health Equity and Climate Action

The health professionals’ statement also touches on the aspect of health equity, arguing that climate change disproportionately affects low-income countries and marginalized populations. Indeed, the countries least responsible for GHG emissions often face the highest health burdens from climate change due to limited resources for mitigation and adaptation.

Creating resilient health systems, integrating climate risks into public health planning, and ensuring equitable access to healthcare are among the key strategies advocated to promote health equity in the face of climate change.

The Role of the Health Sector in Climate Leadership

The declaration calls for the health sector to assume a leadership role in climate action. It advocates for hospitals and health care facilities to reduce their carbon footprint, an effort which not only complements broader climate objectives but also serves as a model for other sectors to emulate.

Greater investment in climate-resilient health infrastructure, the incorporation of climate change into medical education, and active participation in climate policy development are additional measures that the health sector is encouraged to pursue.

Moving Forward Post-COP28

Post-COP28, the real test will be the implementation of the commitments made by governments and the health sector’s role in holding them accountable. The momentum provided by the collective voice of over 40 million health professionals is a testament to the power of unified action in addressing global challenges.


For those interested in delving deeper into the subject, the following references provide critical insight into the interface between health and climate change and underscore the importance of the issues addressed at COP28:

1. World Health Organization (2023). “Climate change and health”. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health.
2. Watts, N., Amann, M., Ayeb-Karlsson, S., et al. (2018). “The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health”. The Lancet, 391(10120), pp. 581-630. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32464-9(https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32464-9).
3. Maibach, E., Frumkin, H., Ahdoot, S., et al. (2021). “Health Professionals and the Climate Crisis: Trusted Voices, Essential Roles”. Health Affairs, 40(12), pp. 2021-2029. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2021.00848
4. Patz, J. A., & Kovats, R. S. (2002). “Hotspots in climate change and human health”. BMJ, 325(7372), pp. 1094-1098. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7372.1094
5. Saudi Medical Journal (2024). “Over 40 million health professionals demand bold health and climate action at COP28”. Saudi Med J, 45(1), pp. 106-107. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15537/smj.2024.45.1.38220234


1. Climate change and health care
2. COP28 climate declaration
3. Health professionals’ climate action
4. Mitigating health effects of global warming
5. Sustainable healthcare systems

The convergence of health and climate science at such a significant scale illustrates the depth of concern across the global health community. The statement issued at COP28 is not just a call for climate action—it is a call for a healthier and more equitable world for all.

*The insights from this article were sourced from the Saudi Medical Journal, with contributions from leading health experts. The statement’s PMC reference number is PMC10807672, and it can be found in volume 45 issue 1 of the 2024 January edition, pages 106-107 of the Saudi Med J.*