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COP27 Oil & Gas Proposal Earns Sharp Rebuke From Global Health Community

Sharm El-Sheikh, 11 November
As the COP27 Climate Summit’s
‘Decarbonisation Day’ closes in Egypt, the Global
Climate and Health Alliance denounced fossil fuel
industry’s push for greater oil and gas development, and
reiterates the worldwide health community’s demand for a
rapid and just phase out of all fossil fuels.

at the midpoint of COP27, several African governments,
including Egypt as the host of COP27, and COP28 host, the
United Arab Emirates, expressed support for continued
extraction of fossil fuels, specifically gas, citing slow
transitions to renewable energy by high income countries as
one reason for expanding extraction [1]. Meanwhile African
climate activists have
called for an end to fossil fuel expansion on the
continent [2]. 

“The call for greater oil
and gas production is completely out of step with climate
science and health evidence”, said Dr Jeni Miller,
Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health
Alliance. “Presented as a necessity for development, new
investments in fossil fuel infrastructure would instead
simply lock a new generation into these dirty fuels, at a
time when clean energy is viable and ready to be scaled. The
rightful need of people in low and middle income countries
for access to energy – for clean cooking, for healthcare,
for education, for jobs, and many other key determinants of
health – must not bring with it the health costs
associated with fossil

“Meanwhile, transitioning
to renewable energy sources such as local solar grids not
only reduce the health risks of climate change and air
pollution but also promote energy sovereignty. It is vital
that high income countries provide financial support for the
transition in low and middle income countries”, added

“Governments must commit to a
deadline for full and just fossil fuel
phase out as a public health imperative, and define
how this will be delivered through
the Mitigation Work Program”, said Jess
Beagley, Policy Lead at the Global Climate and Health
Alliance. “Only a full phase out of fossil fuels will
deliver the health benefits of cleaner air and protect
people from harm to their health caused by the extraction,
transport and processing and burning of oil, gas and

In September 20222, the Global Climate and
Health Alliance, which brings together 130+ health
organisations from around the word to tackle climate change
and to protect and promote public health, joined over 200
health organizations in
calling on governments to urgently develop and implement
a fossil
fuel non-proliferation treaty to end global dependence
on fossil fuels in order to protect the health of people
around the world [3].

Fossil fuel combustion drives
climate change, which has significant health impacts ranging
from heat exhaustion and dehydration, to increased
vector-borne diseases, to malnutrition, to the myriad
impacts of extreme weather events. It is also the primary
driver of air pollution, which is responsible for over seven
million premature deaths per year [4].

COP26, initial language on the phase out of all fossil fuels
was watered down to refer only to phase down of
unabated coal”, said Beagley. “The phase out of all
fossil fuels, and of fossil fuel subsidies, is a
public health imperative

and gas also contribute to climate change, and health
impacts from their extraction and use. Neither can be
considered a ‘bridging fuel’. It is however vital that
developing nations in Africa and around the world are not
inhibited from developing on account of inadequate levels of
climate finance from developed countries. Some such finance
is being disbursed via Just Energy Transition Partnerships
(JET-Ps), specifically to shift from fossil fuels to
renewable energy.” concluded

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