4077.0 Climate Change: A Challenge to Public Health

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 10:30 AM
The certainty that the planet is committed to substantial warming and changing climate over the next century has increased greatly, culminating in the recent Fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which states that warming of the earth over the past century is “unequivocal” and that such warming can be attributed to humans with a greater than 90% level of certainty. The implications for public health are myriad. Anticipated changes include worsened heat stress, greater exposures to allergens and air pollutants, altered range and severity of infectious diseases, and exacerbations of malnutrition and food shortages. Perhaps more troubling for human health are the implications of sea level rise of an unprecedented scale, foreshadowed by the accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The number of people displaced by massive sea level rise could be in the hundreds of millions and lead to serious public health problems associated with large-scale refugeeism. The public health community thus has a critical voice in the call for policy changes to reduce the chance of catastrophic climate change. It also must show leadership in adapting to the health problems associated with unavoidable climate change over the coming decades. Leading experts will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of human effects on climate and how catastrophic climate change can be avoided through more sustainable societies; a summary of the likely public health impacts of global warming and changing climate; and a discussion of how the CDC is preparing to meet the public health challenges of climate change for the United States.
Session Objectives: Describe the current state of knowledge of the public health effects of climate change. Identify steps that can be taken to avoid climate change to the extent possible and to adapt to the public health implications of unavoidable climate change.
John M. Balbus, MD, MPH

10:50 AM

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Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions

CE Credits: CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing

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