Climate Change and Public Health

EKG line and lungs overlaid on climate warming stripes

The environmental impacts of climate change are well known: extreme weather, rising seas, and catastrophic wildfires, among others. Less appreciated is the climate change-caused health crisis. The intense heat, killer storms, and disease vectors spawned by climate change are taking a major human toll. Plus the primary cause of climate change—the burning of fossil fuels—generates dangerous levels of air pollution that cause asthma and other respiratory issues, while shortening lives. If robust action is not taken to mitigate the effects of climate change, these many adverse health consequences are expected to worsen, resulting in tens of thousands of additional people sick and lives lost, with disadvantaged communities hurt most of all. 

Although overwhelming evidence points to the need for strong federal action to address climate change, the Trump administration has failed to set even the most basic nationwide standards to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Rather than take action to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, this administration consistently ignores science and sides with industry, rolling back common sense regulations with no apparent regard for the consequences to public health and the environment. Thankfully, state attorneys general have stepped in to challenge the rollback of climate regulations and fight to protect human health and the environment from the ravages of climate change.

Online Conference: Perspectives on Climate Change and Public Health

NYU School of Law's State Energy & Environmental Impact Center and Institute for Policy Integrity co-hosted an online conference on September 22, 2020 to explore the serious threat that climate change poses to public health. Experts from around the country discussed climate-related health problems and some of the barriers working against the full consideration of health impacts in climate and environmental policy.