Communicating health research (127) Health and climate change: an editorial (5)

4 November, 2022

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Chris Zielinski and colleagues achieved a remarkable feat by publishing a climate emergency editorial simultaneously in more than 250 journals. What does this tell us about communicating htealth research to policymakers?

The point was 'to demonstrate the united will of the medical profession, including all areas (nursing, mental health, veterinary medicine, etc.), to combat the health effects of climate change'.

The key message of the authors is to urge 'wealthy nations to finally step up', particularly to realise 'the promised target of providing US$100 billion of climate finance a year... ensuring these resources focus on increasing resilience to the existing and inevitable future impacts of the climate crisis, as well as on supporting vulnerable nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions'.

The message is supported by a well-worded case, and by a string of references to published research.

The piece is jointly authored by the editors of medical journals, which was presumably a deliberate decision to emphasise solidarity rather than including climate scientists and others.

In relation to 'communicating health research to policymakers' the exercise suggests more can be achieved when scientists work in solidarity and cooperatively than individually and in competition.

It will be interesting to see what happens at COP27. Will there be major steps forward along the lines that this editorial calls for? If so, what were the key contributing factors to the decisions made? One suspects the shared voices of 250-plus journals will play an important role. Moreover, their solidarity and cooperation is in place and ready to take on the next major advocacy challenge.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Communicating health research

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO