Dr. Paul Farmer writes that climate change is a threat to human rights and calls on governments to fulfill their responsibility to address it in a new editorial in the Health and Human Rights Journal (pdf).

The editorial, titled “The Great Procrastination,” is written by journal editors Farmer, Dr. Jay Lemery of the University of Colorado, and Carmel Williams, Ph.D, of Harvard University.

“We wonder, given the evidence underlying the mounting climate crisis, if future generations will regard ours—amongst the epochs of history—as 'The Great Procrastination.' Squandering time, dithering on action, and engaging in half-measures woefully incapable of addressing a threat that our best science warns will be more catastrophic and less reversible each year.

The health effects of anthropogenic climate change are increasingly apparent and accelerating at an ominous pace. Global warming will now continue under all future scenarios, and immediate action can only slow, not reverse, the rate of warming. Our risk assessment has yet to translate into meaningful mitigation and, even with this knowledge, major industrial nations are continuing to invest significantly in new carbon-based energy technologies.”

Read the editorial and the full issue of the Journal, which explores the threats to health from climate change as human rights issues.