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DOI: 10.59249/ZODD9375; PMCID: PMC10303248


Climate change poses an existential threat to children's health. Divestment of ownership stakes in fossil fuel companies is one tool available to pediatricians to address climate change. Pediatricians are trusted messengers regarding children's health and therefore bear a unique responsibility to advocate for climate and health policies that affect children. Among the impacts of climate change on pediatric patients are allergic rhinitis and asthma; heat-related illnesses; premature birth; injuries from severe storms and fires; vector-borne diseases; and mental illnesses. Children are disproportionately affected as well by climate-related displacement of populations, drought, water shortages, and famine. The human-generated burning of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, which trap heat in the atmosphere and cause global warming. The US healthcare industry is responsible for 8.5% of the nation's entire greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants. In this perspectives piece we review the principle of divestment as a strategy for improving childhood health. Healthcare professionals can help combat climate change by embracing divestment in their personal investment portfolios and by their universities, healthcare systems, and professional organizations. We encourage this collaborative organizational effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Journal Title

The Yale journal of biology and medicine





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MeSH Keywords

Female; Pregnancy; Child; Humans; Greenhouse Gases; Air Pollution; Child Advocacy; Climate Change; Fossil Fuels


climate change; fossil fuel divestment; pediatrics; physician advocacy


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

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