April 4, 2016

Climate Change a Growing Threat to Human Health: New USGCRP Report

Today, the United States Global Change Research Program released a new assessment of a growing public health threat, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Drawing from decades of advances in the physical science of climate change, the report strengthens our understanding of the growing risks that a changing climate poses to human health and welfare, and highlights factors that make some individuals and communities particularly vulnerable.

“This assessment not only provides the latest science on questions like how climate change affects our health and who is most vulnerable -  it starts to answer the key questions of how much of an impact climate change will have on different health problems and how many people will be affected,” said Dr. John Balbus, a Senior Advisor for Public Health at the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences.  

The climate and health assessment is a product of USGCRP’s sustained National Climate Assessment process, and represents a coordinated effort by eight Federal agencies (with leadership from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and more than 100 experts from across the United States to inform public health officials, urban and disaster response planners, decision makers, and other stakeholders within and outside of the government who are interested in better understanding the risks climate change presents to human health. The effort was overseen by the USGCRP-coordinated Interagency Crosscutting Working Group on Climate Change and Human Health, led by co-chairs Balbus, Juli Trtanj of NOAA, and George Luber of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The assessment was informed by inputs gathered through listening sessions and scientific and technical information contributed through public solicitations. The resulting product provides a comprehensive, evidence-based, and, where possible, quantitative estimation of observed and projected climate change related health impacts in the United States.

It was made possible through “longstanding collaborative efforts across Federal agencies, such as investments in climate monitoring, modeling, and operational climate forecasting, that could be leveraged in new ways to make climate data real and relevant for Americans,” said Trtanj.  

Mike Kuperberg, USGCRP Executive Director, noted that “these new collaborative capabilities provide a strong basis for ongoing assessment of the state of the science.”

The report is accompanied by an interactive web presence that provides the ability to explore the data
and information behind the report, powered by the Global Change Information System

Report chapters:
1. Introduction - Climate Change & Human Health
2. Temperature-Related Death and Illness
3. Air Quality Impacts
4. Extreme Events
5. Vector-Borne Diseases
6. Water-Related Illness
7. Food Safety, Nutrition, and Distribution
8. Mental Health and Well-Being
9. Populations of Concern

Tune-in Today!

A White House-hosted event featuring the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Dr. John P. Holdren; EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy; and the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, will accompany the report launch, April 4, 2:00 - 4:00 PM EDT. The event can be viewed here.

Learn more about the climate and health connection:
U.S. Global Change Research Program
1800 G Street NW, Suite 9100
Washington, DC 20006

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About Us

The U.S. Global Change Research Program coordinates and integrates global change research across 13 Federal agencies to most effectively serve the Nation and the world.