Canadian local governments face a perfect storm of limited capacity, aging infrastructure, and climate change impacts. Leaders and staff are experiencing increasing public pressure to ‘future-proof’ communities from the projected impacts of dangerous climate change by both reducing emissions (mitigation) and preparing for impacts such as flooding, sea level rise, and heatwaves (adaptation). Although mitigation and adaptation have often been planned separately, there are major benefits to integrating them, using a lens we refer to as low carbon resilience, or LCR.
Climate change poses a major public health threat. A survey of U.S. local health department directors in 2008 found widespread recognition of the threat, but limited adaptive capacity, due to perceived lack of expertise and other resources.
Climate change poses significant threats to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the delivery of healthcare services. Human morbidity and mortality rates are rising due to extreme heat events and changing patterns of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, and healthcare infrastructure is at risk from extreme events. Climate adaptation actions are taken to either avoid or take advantage of climate change impacts either by decreasing vulnerability or increasing resilience.
The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health (PDPH) is working to integrate climate change action into public health planning and outreach. While a formal climate and adaptation plan is still in progress, PDPH is actively working to engage the public on issues regarding climate-related risks to health and safety. PDPH aims to clarify public health concerns based on climate projections, identify vulnerable populations, secure funding and resources to quantify and estimate possible disease burdens caused by climate change, and develop and implement adaptation strategies.
Make the Road New York (MRNY) serves immigrants and community members throughout the five boroughs of New York at their three centers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. They provide services and guidance to new and resident immigrants in the form of legal services, education, community organizing, and enacting policy change.
This report was developed to help inform residents of Los Angeles County, about the specific, local-level health impacts of climate change, and how to reduce their contribution to climate change.