The World Health Organization has identified climate change as the single biggest threat facing humanity. Canada is warming at more than twice the global rate and the Canadian Arctic is warming at almost four times the global rate.
The Canadian Medical Association recognizes that the impact of climate change on human health is accelerating at an alarming pace. With that in mind, the CMA advocates transitioning to an environmentally sustainable, net-zero and climate-resilient health system in Canada.
Health care systems are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and must be part of a global net-zero strategy. If health care were a country, it would be the fifth-highest carbon emitting country in the world. Health care is estimated to be responsible for 4.6% of Canada’s total GHG emissions — amounting to the second-highest per-capita GHG emissions from health care in the world.
The CMA recognizes the profound connection between climate and health — including the health system’s contribution to climate change. Our advocacy for a net-zero health system, doing care differently to cut emissions and preparing for the climate shocks of the near-future advances change at a national level.
The CMA joins with other health care organizations in highlighting the links between climate change and health and calling on federal, provincial and territorial governments to take action to help prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians. Our profession can help heal the planet and support a healthier population.