2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM

Climate Change and Human Health: The Public Health Response

LUBER, George, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, MS F57, Atlanta, GA 30341, gluber@cdc.gov

Global climate change poses well documented potential threats to public health, including heat, severe weather events, worsening air pollution, vector-borne diseases, water- and food-borne diseases, disruptions of food supply, and others. These are complex challenges, made more complex by the uncertainty that characterizes them and by the long time frame over which they will manifest. The public health response to climate change may be framed around “mitigation” and “adaptation,” in terms of public health preparedness, as a process of risk management, and/or in the context of the triad of economic/environmental/health decision-making. Specific components of the public health response align with the essential services of public health; examples include data collection and tracking, protective efforts such as urban heat wave plans, public health research, program evaluation, and social marketing. Some activities will be carried out at the Federal level, others at the state level, and still others locally; appropriate communication and scaling is needed. In all these activities, attention to health disparities is essential. This presentation will review the spectrum of public health activities appropriate to addressing climate change, drawing on existing efforts and lessons from other nations.