WASHINGTON, D.C. – Climate change is a “significant threat” to public health, according to a report the White House released Monday.
The report doesn’t just predict future human health consequences; it also says climate change, as seen in extreme weather events such as storms, flooding and drought, is already affecting Americans’ health.
“Already in the United States, we have observed climate-related increases in our exposure to elevated temperatures; more frequent, severe, or longer-lasting extreme events; degraded air quality; diseases transmitted through food, water and disease vectors (such as ticks and mosquitoes); and stresses to our mental health and well-being,” according to the report. “Almost all of these threats are expected to worsen with continued climate change.”
About 100 experts in climate-change science and public health, including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Health and Human Services; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the Department of Agriculture; U.S. Geological Survey; the Department of Defense; and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, developed the report during the past three years.
The findings represent an improvement in scientific confidence in the link between climate change and a broad range of threats to public health, according to the summary, while identifying vulnerable populations and emerging issues.