The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, has overlooked the biggest threat to human health and human future - the increasing rate of climate destabilization from global warming.
********** UPDATE ***********Failure To Tackle Climate Change Spells A Global Health Catastrophe, Experts Warn
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2009) — An editorial and letter, published simultaneously by the BMJ and Lancet, warn that failure to agree radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December spells a global health catastrophe.
Last year the Foundation co-chairman said about Global Warming: “The fact of the matter is we don’t think about it”. I urge you to change that immediately to state: “Every individual, organization and state should be thinking about climate change now”.
For too long the Gates Foundation ignored extensive research that concludes global warming and climate destabilization has extended and amplified disease and other human health problems . Your science advisers can tell you that global warming is caused, enhanced and accelerated by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industrial civilization. The biggest danger to our future is that we may fail to regulate CO2 output Continued global warming causes sea levels to rise which will increase disease vector populations .
If eradicating malaria is the goal then you must regard the compelling data and devastating forces of a changing climate. All of the awesomely great works by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can be undone by the horrible realities of Global Warming to come. If you truly want to support human health and nurture prosperity, then you need to refocus and modify priorities in a way that respects climate change.
The investment policy for the Foundation Trust forbids trading in tobacco stock since that industry so obviously harms health. Similarly, I ask you to halt investments in carbon fuel companies and other polluting industries. You may derive revenue from over $1 billion invested in oil company stocks, but the resulting greenhouse gas emissions will further increase the rate of warming. Until you decide how best to be part of the solution, please don’t be part of the problem. You should completely divest from any hydro-carbon energy company stock holdings.
We all praise the Gates Foundation for generosity and laudatory good works saving lives and giving hope for the future. But gradually, inexorably, everyone is beginning to feel the aggravation, pain and real suffering from our destabilizing climate. To further ignore the problem is misguided, shortsighted and squanders the opportunity for change.
At the very least, you should accept climate change as a real cause of suffering, and include it when evaluating the global health metrics that underlie your good works. With such an honest view, others can share in your objective: for all people to have healthy and productive lives.
Failure to act is the biggest sin. Knowledgeable people of wealth and power should take a stand - because it is right, because it is needed and because inaction brings harm to us all
Richard Pauli February 2009
Cross posted in the Seattle PI First Person opinion March 2, 2009
Update: The World Health Organization report on malaria. http://www.who.int/malaria/Yale University Environment 360 The Spread of New Diseases: The Climate Connection Oct 2009