Consortium Statement on AMA

The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (Consortium) is delighted to congratulate the American Medical Association on the resolution passed yesterday by the AMA House of Delegates that “declares climate change a public health crisis that threatens the well-being of every individual.” The resolution commits the AMA to advocating for policies that: “ limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C, reduce US greenhouse gas emissions consistent with carbon neutrality by 2050, and help implement and incentivize clean energy solutions and investments in “climate resilience through a climate justice lens.” The resolution further commits the AMA to develop a strategic plan for enacting policies and advocacy priorities and strategies for decarbonization of the health sector.

This resolution exemplifies the tremendous growth of commitment to advocacy by physicians and other health professionals who support climate change solutions. More and more health professionals now recognize that climate change is already harming our health and that climate solutions will rapidly deliver many health benefits. Clean energy solutions that reduce fossil fumes will lead to cleaner and healthier air and less burdens on our breathing. Greener environments can make the severe urban heat island more livable for those denied climate injustice, and a focus on the health sector can assure that it is decarbonized and resilient in the face of increasingly frequently severe weather conditions.

The Consortium’s rapid growth is another indicator of increasing health professional engagement, both as organizations and individuals. The Consortium was founded by 8 medical societies in 2016. Since then, its membership has grown nearly five-fold and now comprised of 39 national medical societies (including the AMA) that together represent 70% of all physicians. In the same timeframe, the Consortium has supported the emergence of twenty state-based affiliates and joined in partnership with nearly 50 public health groups working to move policy solutions forward at national & state levels.

In 2019, the Consortium and its partners launched the Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda, a 10-point plan for addressing climate change with solutions that also benefit health. This Agenda is now endorsed by nearly 200 organizations and schools representing medicine, nursing, and public health; one of those organizations is a Council that represents 500 hospitals.

The new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the commitment of the National Academy of Medicine to decarbonizing the health system, are also examples of the crescendo in the health sector in support of climate action. The AMA resolution represents an important milestone in strengthening our movement. We applaud the AMA and will support it in every way we can.