Walking the talk - how can HIFA members reduce global aviation emissions? (9)

9 January, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Further good points were made by Ian Roberts and Fiona Godlee in their 2007 BMJ editorial (extracts below). We understand that little progress has been made, although it would be good to have estimates of the CO2 emissions associated with international conferences in 2019 versus those in 2007/8.

CITATION: Ian Roberts, Fiona Godlee. Reducing the carbon footprint of medical conferences

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39125.468171.80 (Published 15 February 2007)

Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:324

https://www.bmj.com/content/334/7589/324 [restricted access]

The threat to human health from climate change — through malnutrition, disease, and flooding — is substantial, and in some parts of the world, immediate. Most of the health burden of climate change is borne by children in developing countries. It is ironic that doctors, for whom protecting health is a primary responsibility, contribute to global warming through unnecessary attendances at international conferences...

High quality medical education is essential for patient care, and the educational benefits of confer-ence attendance must also be considered. But Crane is sceptical — “let’s be honest, when did you last learn anything really important at a large meeting?” His view is consistent with research findings. Evidence that attending conference lectures improves practice is scant, and other methods are more effective... Climate change is a major threat to global public health and doctors must lead by example.


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org