National Climate Assessment grave reminder of action needed to protect public health from climate change

Date: Nov 23 2018


Contact: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913

Statement by APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD

Washington, D.C., Nov. 23, 2018 — "The National Climate Assessment, released today, is a grave reminder of the action we need to take now to protect our communities from the negative health effects of climate change. The fourth edition of the report gathers in one place the undeniable body of science that shows public health is harmed right now by the advance of climate change. APHA strongly supports the key concerns and need for action expressed in the report.

"The National Climate Assessment details the increasingly negative impacts of climate change on our health. Climate change increases public health risks through heatwaves, floods, droughts and other extreme events, diseases spread by pests and contaminated food and water, and the mental health consequences of these and other traumatic extreme events. Every American is vulnerable to worse health as a result of climate change. Many individuals and communities have already been irreparably harmed by its health impacts.

"Importantly, the assessment reminds us that the health risks of climate change are not experienced equally. Older adults, children, communities of color, and low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change health threats.

"It's clear that we need to move forward with policies like the Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants and improve air quality. It’s imperative that we provide resources to state and local health departments to address the health impacts of climate change in their communities.

"This report is a somber reminder that climate change is affecting our individual and community health right now. As public health workers we can act to protect people from climate change's long reach. Climate change is a threat to our survival and is the public health challenge of our lifetime."

# # #

APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Learn more at