February 04, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
Following a surge in the number and intensity of climate change-related health harms – from exposure to extreme weather and heat waves to worsening air pollution and the spread of insect-borne disease – health and medical groups have joined together to outline The Call to Action on Climate Health and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda to protect the health and safety of all people in the U.S.
The agenda calls on policymakers at all levels of government, and leaders in business and civil society to face the climate-health emergency head on.
By signing on to the Call to Action, the California Medical Association (CMA) stands with over 120 other prominent medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Lung Association, American Heart Association and American Academy of Family Physicians to call climate change a true public health emergency and urge policymakers to take action now.
The 10 key policy priorities outlined in the Call to Action are consistent with long established CMA policy on climate change, including: educating patients and the medical community, lowering the carbon footprint of the health sector, communicating with legislators about the need to take action, adopting innovative climate change measures and promoting health equity. The 10 policy priorities include:
- Meeting and strengthening greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments and supporting the Paris Agreement.
- Transitioning rapidly away from the use of coal, oil and natural gas to clean, safe, and renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
- Emphasizing active transportation in the transition to zero-carbon transportation systems.
- Promoting healthy, sustainable and resilient farms and food systems, forests and natural lands.
- Ensuring that all U.S. residents have access to safe and affordable drinking water and a sustainable water supply.
- Investing in policies that support a just transition for workers and communities adversely impacted by climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Engaging the health sector voice in the call for climate action.
- Incorporating climate solutions into all health care and public health systems.
- Building resilient communities in the face of climate change.
- Investing in climate in a way that benefits health, and health in a way that doesn’t harm the climate.
Together, the package of policies in The Call to Action on Climate Health and Equity will lower current and future health harms from air pollution and climate change, while also substantially improving the health of people and communities across the nation, increasing health equity, reducing health care costs and building a climate-resilient health system.
The Call to Action on Climate Health and Equity is available at climatehealthaction.org.