Yvo de Boer – ELF Award Winner 2009
The ELF Award 2009 was awarded to Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in recognition of his outstanding efforts to reduce the impact of climate change on respiratory health.
Climate change is often viewed as a purely environmental issue. However, it has serious implications for human health, with one of the main organs affected being the lungs.
The extent to which climate change may affect the respiratory system is not fully known; however, researchers can predict a dramatic impact on patients with conditions such as:
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
• Respiratory tract infections.
The impact of climate change on patients with lung diseases will vary depending on: how much global temperatures rise in relation to their current level; the risk level for excessive rainfall and flooding; and the impact of those changes on other factors relevant to health, such as air pollution, allergens and moulds. Planning for the future is vital.
Mr de Boer, the chief climate change negotiator for the United Nations (UN), has been involved in climate change policies since 1994. He has identified the need to establish measurable actions for developing countries and to help them adapt to the impact that climate change may have on people’s lives.
In preparation for the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, Mr de Boer hopes to:
• Establish how much the industrialised countries are willing to cut emissions;
• Establish how much major developing countries, such as China and India, are willing to limit the growth of their emissions;
• Help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change; and
• Determine how these efforts will be financed and how the funds will be managed.
Mr de Boer has earned the ELF Award 2009 as a result of his consistent commitment towards reducing the problem of global climate change and his endeavours to continue this vital work in future years.