Climate Change & Human Health

To look at the current impact of climate change on human health, let’s step back roughly a decade ago to a journal publication from the American Clinical and Climatological Association in 2009 that identifies the scope of likely outcomes. There is so much to learn, so much at stake, and so much more to do. ~Mary Ann Warfield, M.A.

Luber, George, and Natasha Prudent. “Climate change and human health.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association vol. 120 (2009): 113-7.

Climate change science points to an increase in sea surface temperature, increases in the severity of extreme weather events, declining air quality, and destabilizing natural systems due to increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The direct and indirect health results of such a global imbalance include excessive heat-related illnesses, vector- and waterborne diseases, increased exposure to environmental toxins, exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases due to declining air quality, and mental health stress among others. Vulnerability to these health effects will increase as elderly and urban populations increase and are less able to adapt to climate change. In addition, the level of vulnerability to certain health impacts will vary by location. As a result, strategies to address climate change must include health as a strategic component on a regional level. The co-benefits of improving health while addressing climate change will improve public health infrastructure today, while mitigating the negative consequences of a changing climate for future generations.

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