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Health Security - The Climate and Ecological Crisis


The climate and ecological emergency is the greatest threat ever faced by humanity.1 The climate change driven exacerbation of communicable and non-communicable diseases2 alongside the health risks of recent and worsening record-breaking high temperatures, extreme weather events,3 mass migration and pollution of ecosystems4 requires courageous, collaborative leadership. Urgent, purposeful action must be taken across sectors to protect human and planetary health.

FPH policy position

Advocacy around the climate and ecological crisis is at the core of the FPH’s mission, because of the dire consequences on population health, as well as the health co-benefits of  adaptation and mitigation strategies.5-7 Economic and social policies to tackle the climate emergency will improve population health, including through better diets, more physical activity, and increased social capital.8 These strategies will reduce health inequalities by ensuring that support is commensurate to need, and placing equity, justice, and sustainability at the foundation of future policy.

Current and proposed policies in the UK

The FPH is deeply concerned about the Government’s proposed roll back on environmental policies and the implications of this for meeting the commitments of the Paris Agreement.6 We urge the Government to consider the long-term impacts and consequent costs of delaying implementation on net zero and environmental policies on the already widening health gap in the United Kingdom.

FPH policy recommendations

To protect and promote the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, FPH recommends the following:

1. Implement measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions

  1. Stop all subsidies, investments, new licences, and consent for fossil fuels and accelerate a just transition to renewable energy.
  2. Provide comprehensive investment and action to improve energy efficiency in homes, buildings, and transport to reduce air pollution and fuel poverty, while ensuring social equity.
  3. Restrict the influence of the fossil fuel industry and related corporate interests at all levels, as well as systematically address the industry’s influence on the determinants of health.

2. Protect ecosystems to protect human and planetary health.

  1. Ensure equitable, readily accessible green and blue spaces in the UK by creating high-quality, biodiverse natural spaces for people to use for physical and mental wellbeing and active travel.
  2. Support sustainable and equitable agriculture, ecosystem management and diets that protect human, animal, and environmental health.

3. Adequately resource adaptation to protect health 

    1. Adequately resource public health teams to develop and deliver climate resilient public health services and programmes to protect populations from the health impacts of climate change.

4. Embed planetary health in all policies

  1. FPH calls for all local, regional, national and global policies to embed planetary health considerations to protect health and ensure social equity and justice.
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Become a Member

FPH is the professional home for public health in the UK and abroad. We support over 5,000 members across all career stages enabling them to drive the profession forward and achieve our vision of improving public health.

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