The Paris Platform for Healthy Energy

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The United Nations Climate Conference in Paris represents an opportunity for health professionals and organizations from across the globe to join forces and support a transition to clean, renewable energy. This essential shift can at once reduce climate change’s myriad impacts and protect public health from fossil fuel-generated pollution.

Such a transition is made imperative by the fact that fossil fuels pose a double burden on human health, significantly contributing to both local environmental pollution and global climate change. They are a major source of ambient (outdoor) air pollution, which was responsible for approximately 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012 – more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels is also responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions – such as carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon – that contribute to climate change, which the Lancet has called the greatest global health threat of the 21st century.

As health professionals and public health advocates, we recognize that:

  • The use of fossil fuels contributes significantly to ill health and premature death around the world by polluting the environment while also warming the earth.
  • Reducing dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal, and transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources, creates an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while immediately protecting and improving public health in every country.
  • Developed countries are responsible for the greatest historical share of fossil fuel emissions, and developing countries, which bear far less responsibility for the problem, have the right to sustainable development.
  • Energy access is critical to improving health outcomes, and to meet the world’s growing energy needs we must prioritize clean, renewable, healthy energy sources and energy efficiency over dirty, fossil fuel-based sources.
  • There is an urgent need to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, which calls on governments to rapidly phase out coal from the global energy mix, and to rapidly expand access to renewable energy in low- and middle-income countries.

We therefore commit ourselves and call on our colleagues in the health sector to:

  • Facilitate education, conversation, and action on the health impacts of energy choices in our institutions, communities, and countries.
  • Advocate for health impact assessments and health economic evaluations to be integrated in decision-making on energy projects and energy policy.
  • Where our institutions have financial resources invested in the market, consider divesting these resources from fossil fuels.
  • Lead by example by investing in clean energy solutions in health offices, health centers, hospitals, and health systems, and by using health care’s purchasing power to decarbonize the health care supply chain.

Furthermore, we call on local and national governments as well as international institutions to:

  • Cease the deadly and costly dependence on fossil fuels by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, avoiding new coal projects, and phasing out coal-fired power generation.
  • Prioritize and finance development based on clean, renewable energy sources in order to protect public health.
  • Reach an international agreement that fosters the transition to clean, renewable energy by, in part, transferring technical and financial resources to countries least able to make this transition.
  • Invite greater health sector participation in energy and climate decision-making at all levels of governance.
  • Require health impact assessments to be conducted by qualified experts as a part of statutory requirements for the permitting and siting of new energy projects.
  • Include considerations for health impacts, as well as health costs and benefits, in policy, legal, and financial decision-making on energy projects.

As representatives of the health sector, we believe that by addressing the health impacts of energy choices, our communities, countries, and the entire world can achieve better, more cost effective, and more equitable health outcomes, together with universal energy access and a healthy climate.


Download the PDF version of the Platform here.

View the current list of endorsements here.