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Climate Change Absent From G7 Health Summit Report

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Health ministers acknowledge risks from 'environmental-related factors' but do not refer to climate change.

A meeting of G7 health ministers in Milan has issued a joint communique which warns "environmental-related factors can aggravate existing health risks and create new threats" but does not explicitly refer to climate change.

Ministers from the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Canada and the U.S. released a nine-page document on Monday in which the phrase "climate change" was mentioned once, and as a reference to an ongoing international summit in Bonn, Germany.

Prior to the Milan gathering, some media reports suggested U.S. negotiators had fought to strike references to climate change from any joint statement.

Divisions remained as the statement said the U.S. will "withdraw from the Paris Agreement, unless suitable terms for re-engagement are identified". The remaining countries repeated their determination to stick with the landmark international deal on fighting climate change.

Instead, the G7 said it acknowledged that “some environmental-related factors contribute to health risks, such as those associated with changing patterns of infectious diseases, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification, air, water, biodiversity, soil pollution, water scarcity, food insecurity and malnutrition, food safety issues and increased migration".

The G7 statement came as the 23rd Climate Change Conference in Bonn met on Monday. The UN’s climate chief, Patricia Espinosa, claimed millions of people were at risk due to extreme weather events.

Also on Monday the World Meteorological Organization said 2017 is expected to be one of the three hottest years on record after 2015 and 2016.

The G7 referred to its "collective commitment" to end hunger and malnutrition for 500 million people by 2030.

The head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization on Sunday had warned that "one in three persons globally suffers from at least one form of malnutrition: be it hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, or overweight and obesity".

 

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