The UN General Assembly in September 2021 will bring coun-tries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis. They will meet again at the biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and the climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK. Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we—the editors of health journals worldwide—call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5°C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.Health is already being harmed by global temperature increa-ses and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades.
The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.
Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with COVID-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions. Reflecting the severity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals across the world. We are united in recogni-sing that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.