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Climate Change and Heat: health effects, adaptation strategies, and the benefits of mitigation
September 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
This webinar is hosted by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.
Extreme heat events are occurring more often, for longer durations, and are becoming more severe as a result of climate change. This past year was no exception either, with heat waves affecting many parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Extreme heat events are associated with many different adverse health effects and most severely impact vulnerable population including pregnant women, infants and young children, elderly, those with chronic health problems, outdoor occupational workers, minorities, and those of lower socioeconomic status. Certain adaptation strategies including early warning system have been associated with lower heat-related mortality. However, the science around extreme heat and health clearly demonstrates the imperative of going beyond the Paris Climate Agreements’ goal of less than 2°C warming based on preindustrial temperatures. Implementing stronger climate change mitigation policies would significantly reduce the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths globally.
Dr. Wellenius, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health and Director of Brown’s Center for Environmental Health and Technology, will present a brief summary of the documented associations between ambient temperatures and birth outcomes. He will focus his talk on recent findings from his group on the association between temperature and markers of fetal growth and risk of preterm birth.
Dr. Lo, Research Associate at the University of Bristol and an active member of the Cabot Institute for the Environment, will present her research looking at differences in city-level heat-related mortality between the current 3°C trajectory compared with a 2°C and 1.5°C warming scenario. Based on reliable climate and health data from 15 U.S. cities, she will highlight evidence showing that increasing climate action to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals could prevent hundreds to thousands of heat-related deaths per city during extreme heat events that comes back every 30 years. She will also discuss the impact of future population growth in exacerbating adverse effects of climate change on public health, as well as ways in which improved adaptation and mitigation strategies could alleviate some of the impacts.