This was only possible due to over a million young people around the globe - led by Greta Thunberg's example - taking a bold and public stance against government inaction on climate and ecological breakdown, calling on political leaders to act on the largest impending public health emergency in history.
RCPCH is the national body representing Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK. Paediatricians are compelled by their duty to advocate for young people on a wide range of public health issues. The climate and ecological emergency is the largest public health crisis of our time.It may already have had lethal effects: an inquest has been opened into whether air pollution contributed to the death of nine year old Ella Kissy-Debrah who died of asthma in 2013.
Declaring an emergency means nothing unless there is significant action taken. We must raise awareness of the need to take action within the Health and Social Care system more widely to protect the future of our young people. They have led by taking affirmative action to raise public awareness of this critical issue and we must support them.
The scientific evidence is clear. Unless we rapidly reduce carbon and other emissions we face unprecedented warming, widespread extinction of species, worsening extreme weather events, food insecurity and untold human suffering as a result.
This is the legacy that young people will have to face if we do not act now.
We, the undersigned paediatricians, call on our Royal College to make a public statement supporting UK Climate Change Emergency, and encourage politicians to take urgent action.