Environment, Environmental Health, Public Health

US medical organizations call climate change a “public health emergency”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

More than 70 health organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and American College of Physicians — have signed a statement calling for urgent action to fight climate changes, which they characterize as a “true public health emergency.”

Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility were also among the signatories.

Here’s a summary statement

Climate change is one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced—it is a true public health emergency.

The health, safety and wellbeing of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human- caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change.

Climate change also exacerbates health inequities—disproportionately harming the most vulnerable among us— thus equity must be central to climate action.

Therefore, we call on government, business, and civil society leaders and candidates for elected office to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to prioritize the actions in this Climate, Health and Equity Policy Action Agenda.

The priority actions outlined below are urgent and essential steps to protect and promote health and advance the well-being of all people in the era of climate change. Building healthy energy, transportation, land use, and agriculture systems now will deliver immediate and sustained health benefits to all and reduce future health risks from climate change.

Priority actions:

  1. Meet and strengthen the commitments the U.S. made under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  2. Transition rapidly away from the use of coal, oil and natural gas to clean, safe, and renewable
    energy and energy efficiency.
  3. Emphasize active transportation in the transition to zero-carbon transportation systems.
  4. Promote healthy, sustainable and resilient farms and food systems, forests, and natural lands.
  5. Ensure that all U.S. residents have access to safe and affordable drinking water and a sustainable
    water supply.
  6. Invest in policies that support a just transition for workers and communities adversely impacted by climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  7. Engage the health sector voice in the call for climate action.
  8. Incorporate climate solutions into all health care and public health systems.
  9. Build resilient communities in the face of climate change.Invest in climate and health.
  10. Invest in climate and healthl

Together, these ten policy recommendations provide a roadmap to develop coordinated strategies for simultaneously tackling climate change, health, and equity.

Climate change is a public health emergency. We call on our nation’s leaders to act now by mobilizing climate actions for our health, and health actions for our climate.

With the right policies and investments today, we have the opportunity to realize our vision of healthy people in healthy places on a healthy planet.

To read the full statement, go here.