President Obama is committed to combating the health impacts of climate change and protecting the health of future generations. We know climate change is not is not a distant threat, we are already seeing impacts in communities across the country.
And while most Americans see climate change hitting their communities through extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves – there are other threats climate change poses to the American people. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries.
That is why the President is taking action now. The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect the health of our communities our kids, and those that are the most vulnerable. As part of the Administration’s overall effort to combat climate change and protect the American people, this week, the Administration is announcing a series of actions that will allow us to better understand, communicate, and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, including:
- Convening Stakeholders: The Administration is bringing together health and medical professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders through a series of convenings this week—including a workshop to develop data and tools to empower people and communities with the science-based information and tools they need to protect public health in the face of climate change and another on mental health and wellness impacts of climate change—all leading up to a White House Climate Change and Health Summit later this spring that will feature the Surgeon General.
- Identifying Solutions to Minimize Impacts: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing an Adaptation in Action Report highlighting successful actions state and local leaders are taking to reduce the health impacts of climate change in New York City, San Francisco, Maine, Minnesota, Arizona, Michigan, California and New York. The CDC is also releasing a Health Care Facilities Toolkitillustrating best practices for promoting resilient health care infrastructure.
- Expanding Access to Climate and Health Data: The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative to include more than 150 health-relevant datasets, challenging innovators to use them to better inform scientists and communities about how to identify, minimize and prevent the health impacts of climate change. Today, private-sector leaders across the country are committing to leverage these data sets to generate tools, apps, and insights to help communities and businesses reduce the health impacts of climate change.
- Preparing the Next Generation of Medical and Health Professionals: The Administration is announcing a coalition of Deans from 30 medical, public health, and nursing schools around the country, who are committing to ensure that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change.
- Releasing Draft Climate and Health Assessment Report: The interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program is releasing a draft Climate and Health Assessment report synthesizing the best available scientific literature on the observed and projected impacts of climate change on human health in the United States. This report covers weather and climate extremes, air quality, vector borne diseases, water- and food-related issues, mental health and well-being, and risks facing vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and people with existing health conditions. It will be open for public comment and formal peer review.
Executive Actions To Reduce The Health Impacts Of Climate Change:
Yesterday, April 6th, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring April 6 -12, 2015, National Public Health Week, reinforcing the importance of our public health system and the need to take action to reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities. Today, the Administration is announcing a series of executive actions to set us on track to better understand, communicate, and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, including:
- Announcing a White House Climate Change and Health Summit: The White House will host a Climate Change and Public Health Summit later this spring, featuring the Surgeon General, to bring together public health medical, and other health professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the public health impacts of climate change and identify opportunities to minimize these impacts.