The professional body of family doctors in the UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners, has announced it will no longer invest in fossil fuels with its £10.7m portfolio


The professional body for GPs in the UK has announced it will no longer invest in fossil fuels.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said the 52,000-member body recognised the link between climate change caused by fossil fuel usage and bad health.

RCGP is also a member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change – an advocate group of health professionals pushing for measures against climate change.

Honorary treasurer for the RCGP Dr Steve Mowle said: “We’re really pleased that this decision has been passed by the College’s trustee board.

“We felt that the benefit of our modest investment in fossil fuel companies was outweighed by the negative impact that climate change can have on patients’ health.”

According to an RCGP spokesperson, about 4% of the college’s investment portfolio was tied up in fossil fuels.

This means roughy £428,000 of its £10.7m total portfolio used to be invested in such substances.


How fossil fuels hamper your health

As an organ of family doctors, the RCGP was obviously keen to stop investments in fossil fuels linked to poor health caused by climate change.

RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said: “Climate change is a clear risk to the health and wellbeing of our patients – with recent research estimating 50 million predicted years of life lost across Britain between 2011 and 2154 if things don’t improve.

“We already face a seasonal crisis every winter that threatens to destabilise our national health service, but with our summers forecasted to become hotter and hotter, we risk the emergence of a second seasonal crisis, and the NHS will simply be unable to cope.

“Excessive exposure to heat and sun can cause numerous health conditions, such as dehydration and heat exhaustion, particularly for our most vulnerable patients – the elderly, frail, young children and patients with severe learning difficulties.

“What is good for the planet is usually good for our patients’ health, and the NHS as a whole – and I am delighted that the College has made the decision to disinvest from fossil fuel companies, which we know contributes to climate change.”

Professor Stokes-Lampard also pointed out that hotter global temperatures can aggravate heart, kidney and lung conditions.

According to the World Health Organisation, a quarter of a million more people are expected to die every year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress due to climate change.

It is also estimated that air pollution in the UK alone is linked to 40,000 deaths every year.