BC Society of Allergy and Immunology statement on the climate crisis

We, allergists and immunologists of British Columbia, working on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Indigenous peoples, want to raise our imperative concerns about the climate crisis, including global warming, glacier melting, rising sea levels, air pollution, water shortages, drought, floods, forest fires, and zoonotic infections, which have caused major damage and disruption.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, many allergists have reported a wide range of health effects from climate change on their patients, including but not limited to air pollution–related increases in severity of chronic diseases, increased allergic symptoms, and injuries and death due to severe weather. The extreme heat in British Columbia during the last week of June claimed the lives of more than 300 people.

Based on a report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, warmer temperatures have caused the allergy season in the US to be significantly longer. Warmer temperatures also create more pollens in the air, stronger airborne allergens, and therefore, increased allergy and respiratory symptoms.

As physicians, we know that we cannot have healthy communities without respecting and protecting the environment.

Based on the Paris Agreement in 2015, Canada committed to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. The report from Environment and Climate Change Canada shows that greenhouse gas emissions in Canada increased between 2015 and 2019 from 723 to 730 megatons of CO2 equivalent. During the same period, there was a reduction in CO2 emissions in the UK of more than 10%. This alone shows that Canada has not done enough to address global warming. More than 6 years into the Paris Agreement, Canada has not even submitted the 2020 Nationally Determined Contribution, which was due in February 2020. The delay was blamed on the pandemic. The reality is that the climate crisis is as real as the pandemic and could be even more catastrophic if not addressed immediately.

We are asking the Canadian government to be committed to the Paris Agreement by setting clear pathways and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We agree with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, which suggests an independent body of scientific experts who report to Parliament is needed to audit the alignment of the government policy with climate goals.

Canada must quickly progress toward using clean, renewable energy; ban new fossil energy development, including fracking; and instead invest in renewable energy infrastructure. Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland have banned or suspended fracking. This should be expanded to the rest of the country. Pipeline expansions should be canceled.

Fracking and crude oil pipelines harm the environment by contaminating our farmland, using and contaminating excessive amounts of water, causing earthquakes, and advancing global warming by releasing methane gas. Such operations also threaten wildlife and disturb natural ecosystems by industrialization. Such effects have already impaired wildlife and if not stopped will negatively and significantly impact human lives.

We demand the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia stop fossil fuel subsidies and instead invest in clean energy.

As settlers on unceded territory, we have a duty to uphold this land to the same standard of care and respect as the Indigenous peoples who originally resided on and who still reside on and protect this land, water, and animals.
—Mandana Kaviani, MD
—Bahar Torabi, MDCM
—Raymond Mak, MD
—Edward Coates, MDCM
—Peter Stepaniuk, MD
—Seung Kim, MD
—Edmond Chan, MD
—Amin Kanani, MDCM
—H.C. George Wong, MD
—Victoria E. Cook, MD
—Kingsley Lee, MD
—Hasan Kular, MD
—Vaishaali Manga Datta, MD
—Stephanie C. Erdle, MD
—Sara Leo, MD
—Siobhan Perkins, BMBS
—Joyce Yu, MDCM
—Shamim Wadiwalla, MBBS
—Manbir Sandhu, MD
—Tiffany Wong, MD

Mandana Kaviani, MD, Bahar Torabi, MDCM, Raymond Mak, MD, FRCPC, Edward Coates, MDCM, Peter Stepaniuk, MD, Seung Kim, MD, Edmond Chan, MD, Amin Kanani, MDCM, H.C. George Wong, MD, FRCPC, Victoria E. Cook, MD, Kingsley Lee, MD, Hasan Kular, MD, Vaishaali Manga Datta, MD, Stephanie C. Erdle, MD, Sara Leo, MD, Siobhan Perkins, BMBS, Joyce Yu, MDCM, Shamim Wadiwalla, MBBS, Manbir Sandhu, MD, Tiffany Wong, MD, FRCPC. BC Society of Allergy and Immunology statement on the climate crisis. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 7, September, 2021, Page(s) 271 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

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