212802 Climate change, energy & health: Foreboding clouds & silver linings

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:45 AM

Jonathan A. Patz, MD, MPH , Nelson Institute & Dept. Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
While melting polar regions, crop failures, and storm disasters dominate the public discourse on global warming, human health risks from climate change are of high concern in the public health field. This presentation will provide case studies showing exposure pathways through which climate change will likely alter health risks. In the

US, what will be some of the regional health impacts of climate change? New analyses will be presented from an ongoing grant to begin to answer this question. However, climate change operates at the global scale and poses a unique and ‘involuntary exposure' to many societies that are barely responsible for causing the problem. Moreover, poor countries in tropical regions contain many climate- sensitive diseases. Global warming therefore may be one of the largest health inequities of our time. The U.S. per capita emissions exceed 5 metric tons of carbon per year ¬ five times the global average. How should the average American respond to such information? Also, our energy intensive lifestyle is not the healthiest (consider for example that 60% of Americans do not meet the recommended level of daily exercise, and that obesity is now the top

ranked health crisis in the US). Are there then not co-benefits to changing our energy intensive lifestyles? Recent analysis in the U.S. shows how mitigating global warming could be a substantial opportunity to improve the health of the public and saving billions of dollars in

healthcare costs and worker productivity.

Learning Objectives:
Describe recent developments in climate change. Describe the impacts of climate change on public health, from the global to the local level.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Professor and Director of Global Environmental Health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He co-chaired the Health Expert Panel of the U.S. National Assessment on Climate Change. He is President of the International Association for Ecology and Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.