Online Program

Connecting climate change and health policies: Prioritizing necessary actions to protect public health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
This Special Session proposal addresses APHA’s 2015 Annual Meeting Special Session priority “Addressing climate change through a health in all policies framework” and is being jointly submitted by representatives from the Environment Section, Law Section, and the Veterinary Public Health SPIG. Policy actions provide a critical means of addressing climate change using multiple strategies. There is an urgent need to take meaningful action towards stemming “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Public health impacts driven by climate change are far reaching, are already occurring, and often impact society’s most vulnerable populations. Climate change policy is health policy; many policy options aimed at curbing climate change offer numerous co-benefits to public health. The rapidly changing climate has broad consequences that affect all facets of society. Direct and indirect policies are needed to address this enormous challenge; yet, these policies are currently lacking. Climate policies and health policies must be approached and crafted in synergy with one another and in a manner that facilitates sustainable public health. The purpose of this Special Session is to highlight policy connections and opportunities pertaining to climate change and public health. Understanding how to address climate change through a public health lens is of the utmost importance given that the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 21) will be held in Paris, France just weeks after the 2015 APHA Annual Meeting. COP 21 will bring together international policymakers in an attempt to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate from all nations of the world. The meeting represents an incredible opportunity to highlight the interconnectedness of climate policy with health policy. Additionally, this year the U.S. EPA is expected to issue its final rules on the Clean Power Plan, an initiative under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan that aims to cut carbon pollution from power plants and stem risks to our nation’s health; an example of climate and health policy in action. Some of the questions and topics that the Special Session panelists will discuss include: How are climate and health policy connected? What are the most meaningful policy actions that can be taken to address climate change and health and their underlying drivers? How can policies be crafted that consider both? What are some existing examples of successful climate and health policy interventions at the federal, state, and local levels? How can, and should, policies be enacted, and what opportunities exist for the public health community to get involved? The invited speakers represent prominent national voices on science, advocacy, politics, and policy. Their experience and knowledge offer an array of contexts in which to examine climate change and health policy connections. If our invited speakers are unable to participate, alternate speakers will be identified.
Session Objectives: List four policy actions and/or priority areas (i.e. areas that policymakers and health professionals can work on together) focused on climate change solutions. Describe a success story about a health policy that is either directly related to climate change or that can be used as a framework for crafting effective climate change and health-related policy. Assess and describe opportunities to build momentum for climate change-related policy actions that will offer public health co-benefits. Explain (broadly) how climate change policy is health policy and describe implications for the field of public health, including the identification of possible synergies.
Chris Rea, PhD, MPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions
Endorsed by: Injury Control and Emergency Health Services, International Health

See more of: APHA-Special Sessions