Medical Journals Issue Unprecedented Warning

Leading publications on every continent unite for an editorial on climate change
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2021 1:58 PM CDT
Medical Journals Issue Unprecedented Warning
n this Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, photo, smoke from wildfire spreads over the statue of Poseidon, ancient Greek God of the sea, at Pefki village on Evia island, Greece.   (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

The warnings keep coming, seemingly louder each time. In a move both the Wall Street Journal and NPR call "unprecedented," the world's leading medical journals have published the same editorial sounding the alarm about climate change. All told, more than 200 journals representing every continent united to label the planet's rising temperatures the "greatest threat" to public health throughout the world. It's the first time so many journals have banded together on a single topic, per Science Daily.

The editorial comes a week before a meeting of the UN General Assembly and ahead of a major international climate summit in Scotland in November. Current efforts to keep rising temperatures under control aren't cutting it, says the editorial, which implores world leaders to make "fundamental" changes. "No temperature rise is 'safe'," reads the editorial. "In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people over 65 years of age has increased by more than 50%."

Dr. Eric Rubin, editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, called the editorial "unusual" but essential. Already, rising temperatures have been linked to higher rates of heart and lung problems as well as infectious diseases, and the editorial warns the problem will only get worse. That's particularly true for the most vulnerable—children, the elderly, and those in low-income nations. "The point of this is not to say the sky is falling," Rubin says. "It's to say: There are problems. They're very severe and there are things we can do and we should be doing them right now. I'd like this to be more of a call to action than an obituary on our planet." (More climate change stories.)

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