Medical Societies Respond to National Climate Assessment

Nov. 23, 2018 – The Trump Administration today released the 4th National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally-mandated report on the impacts of climate change in the US. The report is produced by 13 federal agencies comprising the US Global Change Research Program. This statement can be attributed to Dr. Mona Sarfaty, the Director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, a coalition of 22 medical societies representing more than half a million doctors.

“As physicians, our primary responsibility is to help our patients be as healthy as possible. Today’s report is yet another reminder—this time produced by the Trump administration—that climate change is real, happening here and now and a threat to the health of those living in America. This report serves as a critical call to improve health today and into the future by acting on climate solutions and speeding up the transition to clean energy.

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The report reaffirms what our physician members are seeing in all parts of the country. Climate change threatens our health in many ways—from more air pollution that increases the risk of heart and lung disease to deaths, illnesses and mental health impacts of wildfires and extreme weather events like the recent devastating fires in the west and destructive hurricanes in the southeast. The report reminds us that emissions from dirty fossil fuels don’t just drive climate change, they are a significant source of air pollution that immediately harms health.

We’re all at risk from climate change, but this report further highlights the unacceptable reality that older adults, children, people with chronic illness or lower incomes and some communities of color are facing the greatest threats from climate change.

The good news is that we can reduce emissions and switch to clean, renewable energy to make our air cleaner, our lungs healthier and our future climate more stable. It’s our imperative as physicians to speak out for this change for the health of our patients. We hope our leaders will seize this opportunity.”

For additional information on the health harms from climate change, you can see the Consortium’s 2017 report, Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health at https://medsocietiesforclimatehealth.org/reports/medical-alert/

Members of the Medical Society Consortium include: American College of Physicians (ACP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI), American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), American Geriatrics Society (AGS), Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP), National Medical Association (NMA), Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), the California Chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP-CA), American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI), American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).