Use these talking points to educate your state and congressional representatives about the findings of the latest World Health Organization report on climate change and health, as well as the Lancet U.S. brief’s policy recommendations.
Dear [policymaker name],
I wanted to pass along some of takeaways from two new reports on the health impacts of climate change.
Recent report from the Lancet medical journal:
As part of its 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report, the Lancet medical journal worked with the American Public Health Association to develop a policy brief focused on climate and health in the United States. Here are some key findings:
- Exposure to extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths nationwide, and heat waves are becoming more frequent and lasting longer.
- Spikes in deaths, ER visits, and hospital admissions due to heat disproportionately affect some populations, including pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases.
- Wildfire smoke causes asthma attacks and COPD exacerbations, and emerging evidence shows associations with cardiac and stroke hospital visits and premature death.
- Vector-borne illness from mosquitos, ticks, and fleas tripled from 2004 to 2016.
- The report’s recommendations included transitioning to renewable energy from fossil fuels, increasing investment to help adapt to health impacts of climate change, and training health professionals on these impacts.
New report from the World Health Organization:
WHO just released the “COP24 Special Report on Health and Climate Change,” which examines the state of climate and health worldwide in conjunction with negotiations around the Paris climate agreement. I wanted to pass along these findings in particular:
- Exposure to air pollution results in 7 million premature deaths every year worldwide.
- Meeting the commitments of the Paris Agreement would save more than 1 million lives every year from air pollution alone by 2050.
- While a variety of adaptation measures can help protect health, they won’t be enough to avoid all health harms. “Even the most aggressive, well-planned, well-implemented adaptation measures will not in themselves obviate all the damage to health due to climate change. Health adaptation is limited, particularly under scenarios of a temperature rise above 2 °C.”
- The gains for health for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement would more than cover the financial cost of mitigation worldwide.
- The report recommended including the health implications of mitigation and adaptation measures in the design of economic and fiscal policies to address climate change, including carbon pricing and the reform of fossil fuel subsidies.
Thanks so much,
[your name, title, city and state]