On Monday, June 24th, 70+ medical organizations called the climate crisis “a health emergency” and put out a call for action for government, business, and civil society leaders, elected officials, and candidates for office to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to work across government agencies and with communities and businesses to prioritize action on this Climate, Health and Equity Policy Action Agenda.
“The health, safety, and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change,” said the groups, which included the American Medical Association, National Environmental Health Association, and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
A Summary of the Policy Action Agenda can be found below:
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced—it is a true public health emergency. The health, safety and wellbeing of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change. Climate change also exacerbates health inequities—disproportionately harming the most vulnerable among us— thus equity must be central to climate action. Therefore, we call on government, business, and civil society leaders and candidates for elected office to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to prioritize the actions in this Climate, Health and Equity Policy Action Agenda. The priority actions outlined below are urgent and essential steps to protect and promote health and advance the well-being of all people in the era of climate change. Building healthy energy, transportation, land use, and agriculture systems now will deliver immediate and sustained health benefits to all and reduce future health risks from climate change.
PRIORITY ACTIONS CLIMATE ACTION FOR HEALTH
1. Meet and strengthen the commitments the U.S. made under the Paris Climate Agreement.
2. Transition rapidly away from the use of coal, oil and natural gas to clean, safe, and renewable energy and energy efficiency.
3. Emphasize active transportation in the transition to zero-carbon transportation systems.
4. Promote healthy, sustainable and resilient farms and food systems, forests, and natural lands.
5. Ensure that all U.S. residents have access to safe and affordable drinking water and a sustainable water supply.
6. Invest in policies that support a just transition for workers and communities adversely impacted by climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
HEALTH ACTION FOR CLIMATE
7. Engage the health sector voice in the call for climate action.
8. Incorporate climate solutions into all health care and public health systems.
9. Build resilient communities in the face of climate change.
FINANCING CLIMATE ACTION FOR HEALTH AND HEALTH ACTION FOR CLIMATE
10. Invest in climate and health.
Together, these ten policy recommendations provide a roadmap to develop coordinated strategies for simultaneously tackling climate change, health, and equity. Climate change is a public health emergency. We call on our nation’s leaders to act now by mobilizing climate actions for our health, and health actions for our climate. With the right policies and investments today, we have the opportunity to realize our vision of healthy people in healthy places on a healthy planet.”
For more information, resources, and the Full Policy Agenda, please visit the Climate Health Action site.