Before you do anything else, you might like a difficult Washington Post quiz…



A changing climate has widespread implications for human health. The World Health Organization writes that “over the last 50 years, human activities — particularly the burning of fossil fuels — have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate.

“In the last 130 years, the world has warmed by approximately 0.85°C. Each of the last 3 decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.

“Although global warming may bring some localized benefits, such as fewer winter deaths in temperate climates and increased food production in certain areas, the overall health effects of a changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly negative. Climate change affects social and environmental determinants of health — clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.”

Flooding, heat events, starvation, fires, more infectious disease, drought, unsafe drinking water and less access to food are clearly bad for people’s health! Pictures of polar bears on shrinking ice floes grab at our heartstrings, but this is about our grandchildren, our neighbors, and our friends. In 2009 the prestigious British medical Journal, The Lancet got it exactly right in calling climate change “the biggest global health threat of this century”.

Today’s clinicians see the toll climate change is taking on the health, safety, and well-being of our patients and our communities.  We see our patients and our grandchildren wheezing and coughing when smoke from wildfires pollutes our air.  All over the world including the US, we see excess deaths from heat events, and destruction and death related to flooding and excess rain. And the twin sibling of climate change, air pollution, has been associated with 8-10 excess deaths on the planet today. Climate change and air pollution share the same root cause (using fossil fuel to create energy), but while impacts of climate change are baked into the atmosphere for decades almost no matter what we do, the positive impacts of cleaner air accrue very quickly!

While there have been several previous “mass extinctions” on earth, this is the first of them that is “anthropogenic”(ie, created by human activity). A partial list of consequences of climate change and air pollution includes lung cancer, chronic lung disease, asthma, heart disease, increased premature death, ER visits, and hospitalizations, school and work absenteeism, violence, depression, suicide, substance abuse, increased infant mortality and decreased cognitive development of children, and deaths and injuries related to floods, draughts, heat events, and other extreme weather events and expansion of infectious disease. These consequences are not evenly distributed among people. Many are most common in impoverished and minority communities, the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions.

Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines, said “Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.”  There is time to avoid the worst, and our hope is that having a better understanding of the human health impacts of climate change and air pollution will create the collective will, the energy, and the commitment to respond to this crises with the depth, breadth, and decisiveness that it requires. There is simply no time to waste.


The Willow Project Would Be a Public Health Crisis for Alaska

By Yessenia Funes 03/06/23
Siqiniq Maupin, an Iñupiaq person born in Alaska’s North Slope city of Utqiagvik but raised in Fairbanks, has known too many people whose lives were cut short by cancer or suicide. Across the state, Alaska…
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Will global warming make temperature less deadly?

By Harry Stevens 02/16/23
The scientific paper published in the June 2021 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change was alarming. Between 1991 and 2018, the peer-reviewed study reported, more than one-third of deaths from heat exposure were linked…
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Improved Asthma Symptoms, Air Pollution Linked to Electric Vehicle Use in California

By Pearl Steinzor 02/08/23
Drivers choosing zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), otherwise known as battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell cars, have been increasing in California, with efforts to tackle climate change. However, little is known about the…
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Valley fever could spread from Southwest, driven by climate change, researchers warn: ‘New cases emerging’

By Melissa Rudy 02/02/23
For most people who are suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, the likely culprits are cold, flu or COVID-19.
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Air quality can affect health. Climate change is worsening both.

By Jan Ellen Spiegel 01/22/23
Sandra Rapp has had breathing problems for at least 20 years. She was a heavy smoker — a habit she gave up 30 years ago — spent many years working in manufacturing and has lived…
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Study Says Climate Change Fear-Mongering Severely Impacting Children’s Mental Health

By Kevin Killough 01/15/23
Since environmental activist Greta Thunberg gave her “how dare you” speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019 when she was 17, young people have been drawn into a debate about climate change.
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Older adults can be particularly vulnerable during weather disasters

By YCC Team 01/03/23
It’s an urgent issue as extreme weather grows more common. The post Older adults can be particularly vulnerable during weather disasters appeared first on Yale Climate Connections. ...
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How Does Deforestation Lead To Human Diseases?

By Andrew Wight 12/07/22
Colombian disease ecologist Juliana Hoyos is part of a multidisciplinary team studying the links between deforestation and diseases like Chagas disease and American cutaneous leishmaniasis.
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When health inequities and climate disasters collide

By Ayurella Horn-Miller 12/06/22
Researchers released a toolkit Tuesday designed to help free and low-cost clinics in the U.S. to better deal with heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires and floods in underserved communities. The big picture: Despite treating those most…
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Harvard team launches climate resilience toolkit for front-line health care clinics

By Sharon Udasin 12/06/22
A team of Harvard University public health experts has launched an initiative to help front-line medical clinics protect their patients from climate risks. The project, called the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit, provides clinical…
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As heat wave grips the West, millions in California are urged to set thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve electricity today

By Aya Elamroussi 09/01/22
An intense heat wave will blanket much of the West this week, prompting officials in California to urge residents to slash their energy consumption for the second day in a row to avoid straining the…
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Nature can affect human well-being in many more ways than you think

By Allyson Chiu 08/05/22
Humans have long benefited from nature’s offerings. But beyond being an essential source of food, water and raw materials, the natural world can contribute to people’s overall well-being through a host of intangible effects —…
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If you see no icon in front of an entry, it means the entry covers more than one subject.

The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels

The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown is published as the world confronts profound and concurrent systemic shocks. Countries and health systems continue to contend with the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19…

U.S. EPA and WHO partner to protect public health

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement continues EPA-WHO collaboration on a wide range of specific and crosscutting environment and…

Environmental Health Coalition

Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) works for environmental justice in the San Diego/Tijuana region and throughout California.

EWG’s Tap Water Database

Since 2013, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of more than 31 million state water records.

The Most Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the U.S.

ProPublica’s analysis of five years of modeled EPA data identified more than 1,000 toxic hot spots across the country and found that an estimated 250,000 people living in them may be exposed to levels of…

Lancet Countdown: Policy brief for the United States Of America

This fifth annual Policy Brief is supported by a diverse group of health experts from over 70 institutions, organizations, and centers who recognize that climate change is first and foremost a health crisis. It uses…

Systematic mapping of global research on climate and health: a machine learning review

The global literature on the links between climate change and human health is large, increasing exponentially, and it is no longer feasible to collate and synthesise using traditional systematic evidence mapping approaches. We aimed to…

The number of lives that clean energy could save, by U.S. state

The United States can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while creating half a million new jobs, modernizing the energy infrastructure, and avoiding hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, according to the comprehensive Net Zero…

Systematic mapping of global research on climate and health: a machine learning review

The global literature on the links between climate change and human health is large, increasing exponentially, and it is no longer feasible to collate and synthesise using traditional systematic evidence mapping approaches. We aimed to…

Coming Storms: Climate Change And The Rising Threat To America’s Coastal Seniors

A new Climate Central sea-level-rise analysis identifies the assisted living and nursing homes at risk in five states. Experts say waiting to evacuate during storms is not the answer.

Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1.  Policy.  Our Nation has an abiding commitment to empower…

WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change

The burden of disease attributable to the environment is high and persistent, and amounts to 13 million deaths each year (one quarter of all deaths), and further health concerns are posed by global challenges such…

Global risk of deadly heat

Climate change can increase the risk of conditions that exceed human thermoregulatory capacity.

Raising Awareness of the Health Impacts of Coal Plant Pollution

In 2000, 2004 and again in 2010, the Clean Air Task Force issued studies based on a methodology and model created by Abt Associates, U.S EPA’s own health benefits consultant, based on peer-reviewed, published studies…

Investors Join Calls for a Food Revolution to Fight Climate Change

A series of new reports shows how climate change is intertwined with the world’s worsening health, and suggests changes in the global food production system.

The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report

Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, undernutrition, and other dietary risks, is the leading cause of poor health globally. In the near future, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these health…

Global Climate Change and Children’s Health

Climate change poses threats to human health, safety, and security, and children are uniquely vulnerable to these threats.

Climate change and health

Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and…

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance

“Things like depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, domestic abuse, all these things tend to go up in the aftermath of a natural disasters,” says psychologist Susan Clayton of the College of Wooster,…

Planting healthy air: Trees, particulate matter pollution and extreme heat

This study from the Nature Conservancy reviews the positive cooling effects of urban trees planting on hot city climates and the quality of their air.

New Lancet report: The Global Syndemic: Uniting Actions to Address Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change

The Lancet has been busy.  Last week, it published a blockbuster report on the need for worldwide dietary changes to improve human health and that of the environment. And here is another post about this…

Weekend reading: The Lancet / EAT Forum report on healthy and sustainable diets

I’ve saved this for Weekend Reading because it will take a weekend to get through it. The report is a blockbuster: 37 authors, 47 pages, 357 references.

Major Health Study Shows Benefits of Combating Climate Change

The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, by 150 experts from 27 academic institutions and intergovernmental organizations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, is blunt: “A rapidly changing climate…

8 ways the climate apocalypse could affect your health

Public health journal The Lancet released a report Wednesday warning that climate change is causing a long list of health risks.

California health systems form alliance to advise on climate change laws, regulations

As deadly fires and record-breaking heat waves ravage California, four of the state's largest health systems joined to form the California Health Care Climate Alliance ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in September to…

Climate change is making people sick: A U.S. medical report

From rising levels of air pollution to increased water contamination and a widening range for disease-carrying mosquitoes, climate change is making people sick, a coalition of 11 US medical groups said Wednesday.


Clean energy could save American lives to tune of $700 billion per year

By Dana Nuccitelli   11/01/21  
The case for climate solutions has long been hindered because of the decades it will take for investments made today to yield benefits in the form of less extreme weather impacts. Carbon dioxide pollution remains…
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Intermountain Healthcare’s new solar project a major step for cleaner air in Utah

By Ian Bartlett   11/01/21  
Intermountain Healthcare is taking a major step in sustainability by joining a utility-scale solar project near Huntington, Utah, that will supply 20 percent of the health system’s total electricity needs.
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Research finds that climate breakdown is affecting the mental health of young people

By Ed Brown   11/01/21  
In time for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has released new research findings showing a profound connection between deteriorating mental health and climate breakdown.
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Curbing air pollution could prevent millions of deaths in North America over next 50 years

By Lauren Pelley   11/01/21  
Curbing climate change and improving air quality could provide greater health benefits in our lifetime than previously thought, potentially preventing millions of deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. alone during the next half-century, new research…
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Doctors union warn climate change is damaging patient health

By Wendy Brooking   11/01/21  
A DOCTORS’ union has reminded world leaders of their “moral responsibility” to protect public health, warning that climate change is damaging patient health.
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Brazil study shows climate change’s deadly impact on kidneys

By Robert Preidt   11/01/21  
For the study, researchers analyzed data from hospitals in more than 1,800 cities in Brazil between 2000 and 2015, and found that just over 7% of all admissions for kidney disease could be attributed to…
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5 Alarming Studies That Show Why the COP26 Climate Summit Is Important

By Robert Lea   11/01/21  
World leaders are meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, U.K., to discuss the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement and how they intend to combat global warming. The conference is…
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Climate Change Is a Health Crisis

By Julia Gillard   11/01/21  
The threat COVID-19 poses to human health is now well understood around the world. In contrast, the enormous health threat of global warming, with its broad array of persistent impacts on our well-being, is under-recognized…
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The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future

By Marina Romanello, Alice McGushin and more   10/30/21  
The Lancet Countdown is an international collaboration that independently monitors the health consequences of a changing climate. Publishing updated, new, and improved indicators each year, the Lancet Countdown represents the consensus of leading researchers from…
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Climate Change Reshaped Earth With Extreme Weather This Year

By Seth Borenstein   10/30/21  
Fires raged. Rivers flooded. Ice melted. Droughts baked. Storms brewed. Temperatures soared. And people died.
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PCPs face mounting responsibility to address health effects of climate change

By Maria Marabito   10/29/21  
Human influence has had an unequivocal impact on Earth’s climate, causing significant changes that threaten people’s security and physical and mental health, according to a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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The Coming Age of Climate Trauma

By Andrea Stanley   10/27/21  
Jess Mercer received a call from her stepmom, Annette, that morning, a little after 8 a.m. “We’re coming,” Annette said, her voice so unrecognizable it sounded foreign. Jess was at her apartment in Chico, Calif.,…
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CT experts say climate change is the greatest threat to public health

By Nicole Leonard   10/25/21  
It was 10 years ago, but when Lori Mathieu thinks about extreme weather events, she remembers Hurricane Irene.
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Climate Change Threatens To Worsen Health Disparities In Hawaii

By Anita Hofschneider   10/22/21  
Diseases like diabetes and obesity aren’t the first thing that most people think of when considering the health impacts of climate change. But they’re among a myriad of illnesses expected to worsen as global temperatures…
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Global heating ‘may lead to epidemic of kidney disease’

By Natalie Grover   10/21/21  
Chronic kidney disease linked to heat stress could become a major health epidemic for millions of workers around the world as global temperatures increase over the coming decades, doctors have warned.
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Report warns of climate change’s ‘code red’ impact on health

By Virginia Langmaid   10/21/21  
Droughts will hurt food production, rising temperatures will encourage the spread of dangerous pathogens such as malaria and cholera and current climate trends indicate a "code red" for future health, the new report in The…
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Viewing climate change as a human health problem

By Alvin Powell   10/21/21  
The medical journal The Lancet released its annual “Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” and a companion brief focused on conditions in the United States. The brief urges action to curb…
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Reports: Health problems tied to global warming on the rise

By Seth Borenstein   10/21/21  
Health problems tied to climate change are all getting worse, according to two reports published Wednesday.
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Climate change is bad for your health. And plans to boost economies may make it worse

By Nathan Rott   10/20/21  
It may seem obvious: Heat kills. Wildfires burn. Flooding drowns. But the sprawling health effects of a rapidly warming world can also be subtle. Heat sparks violence and disrupts sleep. Wildfire smoke can trigger respiratory…
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Inaction on climate change imperils millions of lives, doctors say

By Sarah Kaplan   10/20/21  
Climate change is set to become the “defining narrative of human health,” a top medical journal warned Wednesday — triggering food shortages, deadly disasters and disease outbreaks that would dwarf the toll of the coronavirus.…
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Climate change is ‘first and foremost’ a health crisis, new report finds

By Kyle Bagenstose   10/20/21  
Working construction under the merciless Arizona sun, Eleazar Castellanos knew the signs that heat exhaustion was settling in.  On the days when the temperature would top 100 degrees, he and his coworkers would sweat profusely.…
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Inaction on climate change imperils millions of lives, doctors say

By Sarah Kaplan   10/20/21  
Climate change is set to become the “defining narrative of human health,” a top medical journal warned Wednesday — triggering food shortages, deadly disasters and disease outbreaks that would dwarf the toll of the coronavirus.…
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Climate Change Could Bring Rising Obesity Rates

By Robert Preidt   10/14/21  
You can add obesity and its related health risks to the long list of threats posed by climate change, researchers report.
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Climate Change is World’s Most Pressing Health Problem: WHO

By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster   10/12/21  
Climate change is the "single biggest health threat facing humanity," and governments must "act with urgency" to tackle the crisis, a World Health Organization (WHO) special report warns.
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45 Million Health Workers Call for Action on Climate Change

By Joyce Frieden   10/11/21  
Climate change is endangering the world's health and "healthcare professionals are not prepared to be silent witnesses," Howard Catton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses, said here Monday.
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Climate crisis is ‘single biggest health threat facing humanity,’ WHO says, calling on world leaders to act

By Jacqueline Howard and Rachel Ramirez   10/11/21  
The World Health Organization, in a new special report, is calling for governments and policymakers to "act with urgency" on the climate and health crises. The report describes climate change as the "single biggest health…
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WHO’s 10 calls for climate action to assure sustained recovery from COVID-19

Countries must set ambitious national climate commitments if they are to sustain a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Wildfire smoke poses serious health hazard. But your indoor air can be kept clean

By Bernard J. Wolfson   10/09/21  
The fierce wildfires that broke out across much of the western United States this summer, spreading smoke across hundreds of miles, continue to pose a serious health hazard to millions. More are expected this fall.…
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What no one is talking about in the wake of hurricanes and oil spills

By Brandon Tensley   10/07/21  
Often, the damage that extreme weather or an environmental disaster inflicts on communities works as a one-two punch. The first punch: the actual event -- an oil spill, a hurricane, a winter storm, the lethal…
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The L.A. Times investigation into extreme heat’s deadly toll

Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of global warming. But in a state that prides itself as a climate leader, California chronically undercounts the death toll and has failed to address the growing…
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We need to talk about your gas stove, your health and climate change

By Jeff Brady   10/07/21  
Americans love their gas stoves. It's a romance fueled by a decades-old "cooking with gas" campaign from utilities that includes vintage advertisements, a cringeworthy 1980s rap video and, more recently, social media personalities. The details…
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Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of climate change.

By Anna M. Phillips, Tony Barboza, Ruben Vives and Sean Greene   10/07/21  
For more than three weeks in 2020, back-to-back heat waves settled over the Southwest, claiming dozens of lives and leaving tens of millions of people sweltering in triple-digit temperatures. The days brought suffering and the…
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Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of climate change.

By Genaro Molina   10/07/21  
It was the hottest August on record in California. For more than three weeks in 2020, back-to-back heat waves settled over the Southwest, claiming dozens of lives and leaving tens of millions of people sweltering…
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Urban Heat Exposure Has Tripled

Extreme heat exposure suffered by the world’s urban population tripled from 1983-2016, driven largely by climate change, a study published Monday in PNAS revealed. Researchers measured the number of person-days cities reached a wet-bulb temperature…
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Reducing healthcare sector’s greenhouse gas emissions

By Neha Pathak   09/30/21  
The healthcare industry in some ways is hazardous to our health. Charged with protecting patients, the healthcare sector is itself a source of deadly pollution from greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
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Hospitals Confront Climate Change as Patients Sick From Floods and Fires Crowd ERs

By Miranda Green   09/29/21  
When triple-digit temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest this summer, the emergency room at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center was ill prepared. Doctors raced to treat heat-aggravated illness in homeless people, elderly patients with chronic ailments, and…
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The human cost of a perfect lawn

By Valeria Paredes   09/24/21  
Every year, 80 million pounds of pesticides are used on U.S. lawns to maintain attractive, lush greenery. In many cities across the country, Latinx immigrant workers are the primary labor force responsible for lawn care.…
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U.S. Climate Equity Office Debuts, But With a Tiny Budget

By Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News   09/13/21  
It aims to help communities become more resilient to climate change, particularly its health impacts
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Medical Journals Call Climate Change the ‘Greatest Threat to Global Public Health’

By Winston Choi-Schagrin   09/12/21  
A collection of leading health and medical journals called this week for swift action to combat climate change, calling on governments to cooperate and invest in the environmental crisis with the degree of funding and…
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220 Medical Journals Catch ExxonMobil Between a Climate Justice Rock and a Hard Place

By Tina Casey   09/10/21  
ExxonMobil recently launched a new plan to develop carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems, and that has enabled the company to portray itself as a climate action hero of sorts. However, critics have charged that…
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Climate Change Is The Greatest Threat To Public Health, Top Medical Journals Warn

By Lauren Sommer   09/07/21  
The rapidly warming climate is the "greatest threat" to global public health, more than 200 medical journals are warning in an unprecedented joint statement that urges world leaders to cut heat-trapping emissions to avoid "catastrophic…
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Cutting air pollution levels could raise life expectancy by 2 years: study

By Sharon Udasin   09/01/21  
Reducing global air pollution levels to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines would boost average life expectancy by 2.2 years, a new study has found.
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HHS Establishes Office of Climate Change and Health Equity

Protecting Americans’ health and well-being has always been at the heart of fighting climate change, and now for the first time, its importance is being elevated at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…
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Biden Opens New Federal Office for Climate Change, Health and Equity

By Lisa Friedman   08/30/21  
Amid deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that wildfire smoke may contribute to premature births, the Biden administration is creating a new federal office to address the health consequences of climate change and their…
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The Climate Crisis Is a Health Crisis. We Need Your Help.

This summer saw a terrifying onslaught of climate-related disasters and portents—wildfires, floods, extreme temperatures, drought, signs of a collapsing Gulf Stream, an iceberg the size of Puerto Rico, the world’s biggest rainforest becoming a net emitter…
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Trump let this pesticide stay on the market. Under Biden, EPA is banning its use on food

By Dino Grandoni   08/18/21  
EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, linked to neurological damage in young children, on crops such as grapes, broccoli and strawberries – reversing a Trump public health decision...
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Climate change is harming people’s health, emergency room doctor says

By YCC Team   08/13/21  
Renee Salas is an emergency medicine doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. For her, global warming is not some abstract, future threat.
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Beyond human endurance

By Ruby Mellen and William Neff   07/28/21  
When it comes to heat, the human body is remarkably resilient — it’s the humidity that makes it harder to cool down. And humidity, driven in part by climate change, is increasing. A measurement of…
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How to Soothe Climate Anxiety With Hope and Action

By Sarah Simon   07/19/21  
Over the past couple of weeks, it seems like climate disasters are happening everywhere we look. In the U.S. alone, a heat dome blazed in the Northwest, fires cropped up in California, New York City flooded,…
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Biden administration, workers grapple with health threats posed by climate change and heat

By Eli Rosenberg and Abha Bhattarai   07/19/21  
Surging temperatures across the West Coast this summer are exposing another way that the changing climate threatens the country’s future: the danger it poses to workers, particularly those who work outside and in warehouses. The…
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