by Amanda Keifer, January 04, 2013

The Climate Change and Health News Roundup is your place for all the latest news on the health effects of climate change around the world.

 

Namibia: "Climate Change Challenges the Health Sector"

"Because of a lack of the priority given to environmental issues and a lack of finance, climate-sensitive diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea have increased. One third of these figures are from the African continent," said Kamwi.


Argentina: "Pediatricians for a Healthy Environment"

A group of Argentine paediatricians has been combining work on environmental protection and child health for more than 10 years. It appears a basic principle to apply, but the task is turning out to be increasingly challenging and complex.


Global: "Blog: Climate Change and Obesity? 

We have a number of massive Global Health challenges to address as a society, but to me, there are none more pressing, threatening or crucial to act upon than Climate Change and Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs).


United States: "Climate Change Could Bring New Virus"

It's possible that a serious mosquito-borne virus with no known vaccine or treatment could migrate from Central Africa and Southeast Asia to the United States within a year, new research suggests.


United States: "Public Health Readiness Plagued by Budget Cuts, Report Says"

Issued by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism report said 35 states and Washington, D.C., scored a six or lower on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. 


Florida: "Climate Change Reality Laps up on Florida's Shores"

One recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that by continuing on our current path of greenhouse gas pollution, the seas will rise 5 feet by the first half of the next century. 


Global: "Climate talks and Doha Declaration on climate, health and wellbeing"

To protect and promote human health in the face of climate change, we need rapid action - not only from our governments but also from us, as people who care about health

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by Amanda Keifer, December 10, 2012

The Climate Change and Health News Roundup is your place for all the latest news on the health effects of climate change around the world.

 

Global: "World Bank: Arab World Hit Hard by Climate Change" 

The Middle East and North Africa will be especially hard hit by climate change in the coming decades, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday, saying the region will see less rainfall, more recording-breaking temperatures and rising sea levels.


United States: "Public Health Officials Respond to Climate Change Impacts"

While United Nations member states meet this week in Qatar on their elusive quest for a global response to climate change, state and local public health departments in the U.S. have been quietly preparing their response to climate change impacts at the ground level.


Global: "COP18: Making the link between women’s health and climate change"

To mark the UNFCCC’s Gender Day on Tuesday, Novemebr 27 at the COP18 talks in Doha, Isobel Braithwaite, from the Healthy Planet UK campaign, explains why the perception of population and women’s reproductive health as difficult subject, doesn’t alter the fact that it is very much a climate change issue.

 

Global: "World Bank Report: Failure to Respond and the Planet will Continue to Warm to Disastrous Levels"

The 84-page document, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and published last week. 

 

Global: "UN Launches New Talks on Global Warming"

U.N. talks on a new climate pact resumed Monday in oil and gas-rich Qatar, where negotiators from nearly 200 countries will discuss fighting global warming and helping poor nations adapt to it.

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by Amanda Keifer, November 01, 2012

The Weekly Climate Change and Health News Roundup is your place for all the latest news on the health effects of climate change around the world.


United States: "Climate Change Not Mentioned in Presidential Debates for First Time in a Generation" 

Given the absence of the topic at the two preceding meetings between Obama and Romney, the close of Monday night's event marked the first time in roughly a generation that climate change has failed to receive an airing at any of the presidential debates.

 

Global: "Climate Change: Mapping the Health Connection"

Countries could save countless lives and greatly reduce health costs if forewarned about climate-sensitive infectious disease outbreaks months in advance: and that is becoming a possibility, according to the Atlas of Health and Climate, a report mapping the links between climate and diseases like cholera, malaria, dengue fever and diarrhoea.  

 

United States: "Superstorm Sandy and Climate Change Go Hand-in-Hand, Scientist Says"

For more than a dozen years, Oppenheimer and other climate scientists have been warning about the risk for big storms and serious flooding in New York. A 2000 federal report about global warming's effect on the United States warned specifically of that possibility.

 

Global: "U.N. 'Atlas of Health and Climate' Offers Leaders Tool for Early Warning of Disease Outbreaks" 

Two U.N. agencies have mapped the intersection of health and climate in an age of global warming, showing that there are spikes in meningitis when dust storms hit and outbreaks of dengue fever when hard rains come.

 

United States: "Debates 2012: Climate Change Still a No-Show at Debates"

Scientists warn the planet is facing a global climate crisis that could result in unprecedented sea-level rise, drought and food shortages. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to the presidential debates.

 

SPECIAL FEATURE: World Health Organization (WHO)'s 10 Facts on Climate Change and Health

Overwhelming evidence shows that human activities are affecting the global climate. Climate change has serious implications for public health. 


Recent Publications:

"Climate Change and Food Security: Health Impacts in Developed Countries"

Iain R. Lake,1 Lee Hooper,2 Asmaa Abdelhamid,2 Graham Bentham,1 Alistair B.A. Boxall,3 Alizon Draper,4 Susan Fairweather-Tait,2 Mike Hulme,1 Paul R. Hunter,2 Gordon Nichols,5 and Keith W. Waldron6


Published November 1 in the Environmental Health Perspectives


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by Amanda Keifer, October 22, 2012

The Weekly Climate Change and Health News Roundup is your place for all the latest news on the health effects of climate change around the world.

Globally: "Climate Change Has Health Consequences"

Extremes of weather are more frequent including storms, heavier downpours and flash flooding and are associated with water-borne disease outbreaks, when flooding overwhelms sewer systems and contaminates drinking water.


United States: "Are We Ready? Coping With Health Dangers"

A new Environmental Defense Fund report, Are We Ready? Preparing for the Public Health Challenges of Climate Change [PDF], reveals critical gaps in our public health system's ability to respond to growing health threats from climate change.


United States: "Sensible, Wholesale Action Needed on Climate Change"

Tornadoes in February, a 30 percent corn crop loss in the Midwest due to heat and drought, doubled rates of West Nile virus, floods in Miami every full moon.  It’s obvious that climate change is real and harming our health and infrastructure.  Yet our nation has not yet taken decisive action to reduce our carbon footprint and break our fossil fuel addiction.

 

California: "CDPH Receives Grant to Help Prepare for Climate Change Health Impacts" 

Climate change poses risks to the public health and well-being of all Californians through extreme weather events, wildfires and a shift in certain infectious diseases. To address the need for planning and preparation to meet these challenges, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been awarded a four-year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) climate change and health grant.


United Kingdom: "UK Reports the Health Impacts from Climate Change"

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) welcomes the report by the Health Protection Agency as it highlights again the need for health to be at the centre of climate change deliberations. While the HPA report predicts health impacts for the UK that are quite worrisome, it also shows that health protection results from well-designed policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Special Feature: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Response to Climate Change 

The changing climate endangers human health. Learn what CDC is doing to prevent and adapt to the possible health effects of climate change.

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by Lotta Chan, MEM, Research Associate, California Food and Justice Coalition, October 03, 2012

Unparalleled by any other state, California has stepped up to address climate change and associated threats to public health. Its landmark climate change legislation, Assembly Bill 32 or the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, set rigorous targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and now California is in full swing implementing many of the proposed reduction activities.

 

The most well-known part of AB 32 is a cap-and-trade regulation; polluters are capped at a certain amount of emissions and required to reduce emissions under that cap, or pay a fee. The big question over the past couple of years has been, What happens to all that fee money?


Enter Assembly Bill 1532, which was just signed by Gov. Brown on Sept. 30th. It creates the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account within the Air Pollution Control Fund, requires fees collected from polluters through cap-and-trade be deposited in this account, and requires the money to be granted to programs and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Appropriate categories of activities for investment include renewable energy and energy efficiency, advanced vehicles, water and natural resource conservation, and waste reduction. All around, it provides a transparent, public-engaged process for investing polluters’ fees into sustainable, mitigating activities with a whole host of public health benefits.

 

By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, other co-pollutants are reduced as well, which has immediate benefits for health. Pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and ozone are associated with difficulty breathing, lung damage, and aggravated asthma. Investments to sustainable agriculture and natural resource conservation can additionally support natural air and water filtering processes, while increasing carbon sequestration of the soil, improving yields, and reducing dependency on chemical-laden pesticides and fertilizers.  By investing in greenhouse gas mitigating measures and programs, AB 1532 provides the means for improved air and water quality around the state, along with a healthier, more resilient regional food system.

 

Moreover, implementing the mitigation requirements of AB 32 also has a positive impact on green job opportunities within the state. Last year, over $2 billion dollars were invested in clean technology by venture capital firms in California.  As a result, California has experienced significant job growth in the green sector compared to other sectors of the economy.  Green jobs within the state increased by 36% from 1995-2008 while total jobs increased by only 13%.[1]  Estimates show that this growth is primarily dependent on AB 32 being implemented.  Finally, if present trends continue unabated and climate change continues to escalate, the total cost of addressing climate change nationally could be as high as 3.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) when health and wildlife costs are included.[2]  As understanding of the health implications of climate change continues to grow, there may be additional unanticipated economic and social costs for communities.

 

While California steps up to tackle the root causes and impacts of climate change, we are reminded that climate change is more than just an issue for the eco-conscious; at its core, climate change presents challenges to almost every facet of our lives, from transportation to farming and increasingly, public health. It’s going to take more than California to tackle these challenges comprehensively, effectively, and in a manner that safeguards our health and puts equity first. But it’s a good start.


[1] Next 10, “Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California Green Jobs”, December 2009.

[2] Natural Resource Defense Council, “The Cost of Climate Change: What We'll Pay if Global Warming Continues Unchecked”, <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/cost/contents.asp>, May 2008.

 

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by Amanda Keifer, October 01, 2012

Global: "Action on climate change crucial to water and food security, Ban stresses at UN event" 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called again for urgent and concrete action on climate change, as high-level officials gathered at the United Nations to discuss the growing global concern over the impacts of the phenomenon on food and water security.

 

Brazil: "Scientists Debate Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Diseases"

More intense rainfall, rising temperatures and climate-driven migration of human and animal populations due to repeated drought all affect the spread of tropical diseases. These changes, already the focus of study by climatologists, are now also a challenge increasingly taken up by health experts and officials.

 

Ghana: "Govt Committed to Tackling Climate Change Issues" 

The Government has reiterated its commitment to tackling climate change issues and their impacts on the environment as well as on the economy. The Deputy Minister for Environment Science and Technology, Dr Mustahpa Ahmed, assured Ghanaians of the commitment in Accra.

 

Fiji: "Climate's Health Threat" 

Fiji’s Minister of Health Dr Neil Sharma reported to the symposium that the likelihood of dengue, leptospirosis, typhoid fever and diarrhoea outbreak had increased tenfold after extreme weather events like tropical depressions and flooding seen in Fiji earlier this year. He says flooding brings communicable diseases to those affected.

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