How Climate Change Impacts Health

The Relationship between Air Pollution and Climate Change and the near-term Health Benefits of Climate Action

Human activities such as the production and use of fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — generate air pollution that harms our health, and greenhouse gases that drive climate change. This image from The Lancet Countdown shows how air pollution increases the risk of disease and death and how taking action can minimize the health impacts of climate change and improve our health. 

Lancet Countdown illustration of how climate change negatively affects health

*Source: Lancet Countdown, 2020: 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Policy Brief for the United States of America. Salas RN, Lester PK, Hess JJ. Lancet Countdown U.S. Policy Brief, London, United Kingdom. 

The Lancet Countdown Reports

The 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Responding to Converging Crises (report)

The 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Policy Brief for the U.S. (report and appendix) 

The 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Policy Brief for the U.S. (report and appendix) 

Adaptation in Action 

States across the nation are taking action to reduce the effects of climate change on health.

Adaptation in Action: Grantee Success Stories from CDC's Climate and Health Program (PDF)

Adaptation in Action: Updated Grantee Success Stories from CDC's Climate and Health Program, Part II (PDF)

More Resources

Climate Change Fact Sheets

Climate Change and Lung Health Fact Sheets (PDFs in English and Español)

Climate and Health Adaptation Planning Guide for Michigan Communities

Climate Change and Health in Connecticut 2020 Report (PDF)

Climate Change, Health and Equity: A Guide for Local Health Departments

Evidence on the Use of Indoor Air Filtration as an Intervention for Wildfire Smoke Pollutant Exposure (PDF)

Health Approaches to Climate Change: How do health care providers and public health professionals approach climate change differently? (PDF) 

Successfully Preparing from Climate Change in New York State (PDF) (A story from the field)

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment (English version) (Spanish version PDF)

Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience (report)