The need to address “unprecedented environmental changes” informs the workshop scheduled November 2-4, 2017, sponsoted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) at Casina Pio IV in Vatican City.
Organizers noted that meetings sponsored by the two organizations over the past several years have addressed many environmental and climate issues. However, “they did not fully factor in the adverse public health effects of air pollution and climate change.”
“Reliance on fossil fuels and burning of solid biomass are the major, if not the dominant, sources of air pollution and climate change,” they said. “Scientific studies related to health effects of air pollution date back to at least the 1950s and there is now an immense body of evidence on how air pollution harms health. However, the health consequences of climate change, both direct and indirect, have not received much attention until recently.”
The workshop will focus on the health of the people and the health of the ecosystems and their interdependence between ecosystems and people. It is likely such a focus on people’s health may very well bring people and political leaders to push for more drastic actions to limit air pollution and climate change below dangerous levels now being reached and to implement policies to protect Earth’s essential life support systems.
The first two days will be devoted to a detailed assessment of the health of people and the ecosystem. Participants will document and diagnose the health impacts of fossil fuel combustion and the resulting climate change. The final day of the meeting will be devoted to seeking solutions and will end with a call for actions by policy makers and political leaders.