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Health groups call for global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and almost 200 other health associations have made an unprecedented call for a global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.

A call to action published on Wednesday, urges governments to agree a legally binding plan to phase out fossil fuel exploration and production, similar to the framework convention on tobacco, which was negotiated under the WHO’s auspices in 2003.

“The modern addiction to fossil fuels is not just an act of environmental vandalism. From the health perspective, it is an act of self-sabotage,” said the WHO president, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, the head of the WHO’s climate change department, said the letter was a watershed moment. “This is the first time the health sector has come together to issue such a statement explicitly about fossil fuels,” he told the Guardian. “The current burden of death and disease from air pollution is comparable to that of tobacco use, while the long-term effects of fossil fuels on the Earth’s climate present an existential threat to humanity – as do nuclear weapons.”

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Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2022

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