Most of the countries of the world met recently in Poland to review their progress on the Paris Climate Accords and identify next steps. PSR’s national board president, Pouné Saberi, MD, attended the conference and shares her take on the outcome.
A number of things struck me. First, there was a big presence of corporations and fossil fuel interests at the conference, and little respect shown for the importance and contribution of civil society. There was also a big emphasis on emissions reduction and an almost patronizing dismissal of fossil fuel extraction, like “of course we’re never going to stop that, the world economy would come to a screeching halt if we do.”
Lastly there was no mention of health, and the Paris preamble is pretty much nothing anyone will pay attention to.
So we can say that while this may be a starting point, we will not stop here. We will continually hold big polluters responsible, work on the local level to stop the wheels that promote extraction upstream, and insist that health impacts be included in future iterations.