California’s climate is warming and residents increasingly endure extreme heat events that adversely impact public health. This exacerbates existing risks and will bring new challenges for different regions in the state, threatening the efficacy of traditional intervention strategies. Current thresholds for heat alerts are based on temperatures that exceed historical statistical thresholds, rather than temperatures that cause public health impacts. These ‘health-neutral’ thresholds may underestimate the health risks for the most sensitive populations.
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.
Projected climate impacts for Michigan, including extreme heat events, extreme precipitation events leading to flooding, and extreme weather events (e.g., freezing rain, heavy snow), pose a significant threat to public health. In particular, five priority climate-related health outcomes have been identified: heat-related illnesses, air quality and respiratory diseases, vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, and injuries related to extreme weather events (e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning, injury).
The Climate and Health Program of the Washington State Department of Health aims to reduce the negative effects of climate change on public health by working with local health departments, communities, and other state, tribal, and local agencies.
Colorado is implementing climate change adaptation and action initiatives across agencies and scales throughout the state. However, the integration of climate change into public health is limited and planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts are variable across state-, county-, and city-level endeavors.