National Climate Assessment finds need for action to protect health

Date: May 06 2014

Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD

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Washington, D.C. — The American Public Health Association expressed strong support for the public health actions recommended in the National Climate Assessment released today. The third edition of the report is the first to establish the undeniable correlation between climate change and public health, while addressing key concerns and the need for action.

“As we aim to prevent extreme climate from influencing health and disease, the National Climate Assessment informs Americans on the current status of climate and anticipated trends for the future,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA.

The assessment found many ways climate change presents a growing threat to our nation’s health including extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, insect-borne diseases, impacted food and water and even our mental health. These changes affect every region of our nation and without intervention will cause irreparable damage to all Americans — especially children, the elderly, the sick, the poor and other vulnerable communities.

APHA has long championed efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, calling for Congress to reduce and limit carbon emissions, supporting President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and educating state and local health departments about the connections between climate and health and the important role they play in protecting the public’s health from climate impacts.

“As public health workers we can act to protect people from climate change’s long reach by working in concert across sectors,” said Benjamin. “Life-saving prevention is within reach, but must include collaboration between health practitioners and our energy, agriculture and transportation leaders.

“On behalf of APHA I applaud the National Climate Assessment and call on important stakeholders to fight climate change, together.”

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