CMO Annual Report 2020- 2021

50 Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Annual Report 2020 -2021 GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE The global crisis of climate change is accelerating. As declared by the First Minister in 2019, we are in a climate and ecological emergency. Human activities are driving rapid changes in our climate, biodiversity loss and species extinction, with changes occurring faster than predicted. 117-118 If emissions continue to rise at current rates, we will be heading towards a predicted 4°C increase in global temperatures by 2100. It is a temperature thought to be incompatible with organised human society. 119 This emergency demands a rapid and comprehensive response, with unprecedented, far-reaching transformation required across our society The WHO reports that one in nine of total global deaths per year is due to air pollution. 120 The climate and ecological emergency is also a health emergency, as human health is inextricably linked to the health of our planet and its natural systems. 121 In 2009, The Lancet identified climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. 122 The threats to health come in the form of direct impacts due to weather, and indirectly through disruption to natural systems and societal systems. (Figure 1). Figure 1: Impact of Climate Change on Health The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting, yet again, the interconnected nature of our planetary systems, from the zoonotic origins of disease and their relation to our natural environment and food systems, to the greater vulnerability to disease resulting from social inequality, air pollution and other environmental factors. 123

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