Dr Richard Yin and Dr Carolyn Orr write a powerful call to action for the health sector to ban fossil fuel advertising and promotion in InSight+. As we did with tobacco, the health sector now needs to speak out on fossil fuel advertising and promotion or be complicit with our silence.
The health consequences of fossil fuel combustion affect millions of people, and are either directly from air pollution or indirectly mediated through climate change impacts at just over 1°C of warming thus far.
Climate change can also have profound impacts on health care delivery and access. As the 2019–2020 bushfires in Australia demonstrated, health systems subject to natural disasters can be overwhelmed with disruption to power, transport and communications.
We need to rapidly shift cultural attitudes to transition to a decarbonised economy now. This means we must consider all measures, including banning the marketing of fossil fuels.
We call on our colleges, our medical schools and leading health organisations to step up and support a complete ban on fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship.
Richard Yin is a Perth GP and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia.
Carolyn Orr is a neurologist from Western Australia and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia.
The article was published in InSight+ on 26 September 2022