Impacts of Global Warming and Climate Change

Health Threat of Climate Change


From the American Public Health Association APHA:

“Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “Yet few Americans are aware of the very real consequences of climate change on the health of our communities, our families and our children.”The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world.

Disease Increase: As warming occurs, disease vectors including insects move north. This will increasingly affect the disease transmission to people, crops, and forests in many regions. The US Defense Department's Quadrennial Review (2010) says: "Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration."


More aspects of the increasingly negative impacts of climate change on health: 


Human Health, Well-Being, and Security - chapters in the IPCC report

  • Ch 11 — Human health: impacts, adaptation, and co-benefits  

  • Ch 12 — Human security  

  • Ch 13 — Livelihoods and poverty

This IPCC graphic shows impacts, including health, as a function of future global temperature change.


"Climate change is a risk multiplier that threatens to unravel decades of development gains. Among the most critical and direct risks to humans is the impact of climate change on health. Heat stress will worsen as high temperatures become more common and water scarcity increases; malnutrition, particularly in children, could become more prevalent in some parts of the world where droughts are expected to become more frequent; and water- and vector-borne diseases are likely to expand in range as conditions favor mosquitoes, flies, and water-borne pathogens. Worse still, these threats will be greatest in regions where the population is most dense, most vulnerable, and least equipped to adapt, pushing more people in poverty and reinforcing a cycle of environmental degradation, poor health and slow development. Addressing these climate-associated health risks is critical. Alongside risk, there is opportunity. Responses to climate change have unearthed significant potential for improving both human health and the environment. Low carbon hospitals can draw upon the many advances made by the energy sector in developing cleaner and renewable resources. Pharmaceutical supply chains can benefit from more efficient and less polluting transport. And food and nutrition can be improved by the advances achieved through climate smart agriculture. "


Video - The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change 




Here is a Lancet article that says:

"Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk."

Ref: "Managing the health effects of climate change" , Anthony Costello et. al; Vol373 May16, 2009


Here are three other Lancet articles on health and climate change:

  • Harben Lecture: Climate change and human health: impacts, vulnerability, and mitigation

A Haines, R S Kovats, D Campbell-Lendrum, C Corvalan; Vol367 June 24, 2006

...Climate change may affect health through a range of pathways— eg, as a result of increased frequency and intensity of heat waves, reduction in cold-related deaths, increased floods and droughts, changes in the distribution of vector-borne diseases, and effects on the risk of disasters and malnutrition. The overall balance of effects on health is likely to be negative and populations in low-income countries are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects.


Simon Hales, Neil de Wet, John Maindonald, Alistair Woodward; Lancet 2002; 360: 830–34. Published online August 6, 2002 

Interpretation: We conclude that climate change is likely to increase the area of land with a climate suitable for dengue fever transmission, and that if no other contributing factors were to change, a large proportion of the human population would then be put at risk.


  • Climate change and human health: present and future risks

Anthony J McMichael, Rosalie E Woodruff, Simon Hales; Vol367 March 11, 2006

...Climate change will affect human health in many ways—mostly adversely...





HERE is the audio of a great presentation on the impacts that climate change is expected to have on our health, by Dr. Wendy Ring, Physicians for Social Responsibility

The presentation was for a meeting of the Citizen's Climate Lobby. The slide deck is CLIMATE AND YOUR HEALTH from Wendy Ring. HERE is the text of Dr. Ring's presentation:



HERE is a summary of climate impacts on public health, written by Guy Quinlan, UU-UNO Climate Advisory Group:

Climate_Public Health GQ 2011


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Last edit 04Nov2017




(2017). Health Threat of Climate Change. Retrieved from