BMJ 2012;344:e2232 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e2232 (Published 22 March 2012) EDITOR'S CHOICE
Will doctors now take a lead on climate change?
Fiona Godlee editor, BMJ
Last week was Climate Week in the UK, featuring a host of on the political agenda when the problems of the global economy awareness raising activities across the country. And next are so pressing. The question is, can we find a new economics Wednesday, 28 March, is NHS Sustainability Day ( that doesn’t rely on environmentally catastrophic growth, and ). So it seems a good moment to be publishing our In his introduction to the Spotlight Tony Delamothe finds one Spotlight on climate change. The seven articles have been ray of sunshine: that low carbon economies can improve health specially commissioned from among the speakers at last year’s (doi:10.1136/bmj.e2207). In their article, Andy Haines and high level conference on climate change, hosted by the BMJ in Carlos Dora explain that health professionals are uniquely placed partnership with a consortium of other organisations to promote policies that are good for the planet and for people (doi:10.1136/bmj.e1018). Whether doctors are willing to take In case there are any remaining doubters reading the BMJ, we a lead on this remains to be seen and is the subject of this week’s begin with the science. “No science is ever completely settled,” writes Chris Rapley in the first article (doi:10.1136/bmj.e1026).
Elsewhere this week you can read the first in a new occasional “However, among the tens of thousands of scientists working series of “Not so stories.” Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin in the field of climate science worldwide there is almost have spent much of their professional lives highlighting complete agreement that our climate system is changing, and distortions in the way medical research is reported, whether in that human activities are the predominant driving force.” Equally journals, drug advertisements, or the media. They’ve helped firmly agreed upon are the risks to health and life, summarised demystify medical statistics for lay people, and especially for by Tony McMichael and colleagues—risks that are already journalists, who are key to ensuring that research is accurately realities for many of the world’s more vulnerable people (doi:10.
presented to the public. Knowing that the BMJ itself is not immune to the many potential pitfalls in reporting research, we What is less clear is how to reduce or even start to reverse the asked them to tell some stories that would educate us and arm damage before it’s too late. I agree with Robin Stott that a global BMJ readers against being misled. Their first, about the policy of “contraction and convergence” offers the best hope Alzheimer’s drug donepezil bodes well for the series but badly for our future, addressing climate change and social inequity for patients (doi:10.1136/bmj.e1086).
(doi:10.1136/bmj.e1765). But the political will to achieve this remains elusive. Public engagement and greater efforts to convince politicians will be needed to keep climate change high For personal use only: See rights and repr

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