1 December 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Message Is Clear: ‘Climate Change Is about Our Health and the Health of Our


Planet,’ Says Secretary-General, in Video Message for Study Launch


(Delayed in transmission.)

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message for the launch of a study on the health effects of climate change mitigation, in London and Washington, D.C., 25 November:

Your Excellency Andy Burnham, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Health,

Your Excellency Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

Distinguished partners and medical professionals,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join all those who have gathered in London and Washington, D.C., for this event.

I congratulate the researchers who have worked with each other and with the World Health Organization to produce this important study on the links between climate change mitigation and global public health.

In just two weeks, Governments from around the world will meet in Copenhagen to forge a response to one of the most fundamental challenges of our time.

Copenhagen can ‑‑ and must ‑‑ be a turning point in the world’s efforts to reduce emissions and protect people and the planet.

We need an agreement in Copenhagen that charts a path to a healthier, cleaner, more prosperous future for all.

Climate change affects every aspect of our lives.  It could pose one of this century’s greatest risks to public health.

Rising temperatures mean more mosquitoes, increasing the spread of diseases like malaria.

Changing weather patterns will affect food production and water supplies.  The result could be more malnutrition in the world’s poorest countries.

The good news is that solutions to climate change are also good for our health.

In developing countries, cleaner household stoves can reduce respiratory infections and avert millions of premature deaths.

Greater use of public transportation and bicycles means cleaner air and fewer respiratory problems.  It also means that people will be more fit.

And experts say that eating less meat will also minimize our impact on the environment and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The message is clear:  climate change is about our health and the health of our planet.

We are all in this together.  I call on every citizen and every Government to make Copenhagen a success.

I urge everyone to add his or her voice to the chorus being heard around the world calling for climate action and for a safer, healthier future for us all.

Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record