Heat, Fire, Water: How Climate Change Has Created a Public Health Emergency

Physicians for Social Responsibility released a white paper on climate change health effects: Heat, Fire, Water:  How Climate Change Has Created a Public Health Emergency.

Dr. Lockwood has drawn on the content of the three major climate reports published in fall 2018 – the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5° C, and the Fourth National Climate Assessment: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States – to create a uniquely focused summary of their health implications. It is organized, as the title suggests, around the major axes of climate change effects in the U.S.:

  • Heat, the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.;
  • Water, which is increasingly surging, pouring and flooding, or not falling enough; and
  • Fire, whose terrifying flames, sometimes-toxic ashes and far-flung smoke plumes inflict death and disease.

The report examines the health effects of each of these. It also describes the regional effects of climate change across the U.S., and explains how significant the difference is between average world temperature increases of 1.5° C and 2°.

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