Failure to tackle climate change could have "catastrophic" health consequences, the heads of 18 doctors' associations warned Wednesday in a joint appeal published in the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
The doctors urged governments to take decisive action at a U.N. climate change conference scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in early December, Agence France Presse reported.
The letter said doctors must take a lead in speaking out about the urgency of taking action against climate change.
"There is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these," the letter stated, AFP reported. "Should their response be weak, the results for international health could be catastrophic.
The many health threats posed by climate change include malnutrition caused by drought, the spread of mosquito-borne diseases to temperate regions, and the risk of cholera caused by flooding, the scientists warned.