Objective: To assess the extent that the health consequences of global warming and the responses to it take due account of its impact on poverty and inequality.
Method: Reviewing the relevant literature on global warming, proposed solutions and the impact.
Results: To date, too little attention has been paid to the health consequences arising from the increased poverty and inequality that global warming will bring. When these are combined with issues arising from the economic melt-down, food shortages, peak oil, etc. we are heading for a global public health crisis of immeasurable magnitude.
Conclusion: Solutions lie in rethinking the global economic system that we have relied upon over the past several decades and the global institutions that have led and fed off that global system – the IMF, the World Bank and so on.
Implications: Public health practitioners need to look and act globally more often. They need to better recognise the links between global warming and the global financial crisis. How the latter is dealt with will determine whether the former can be resolved. It is in this global political economy arena that future action in public health lies.