Report: Climate change worsens risks to public health

Man walking in flood waters.

Man walking in flood waters. (Image credit: NOAA/iStock)

All Americans are vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change at some point in their lives, no matter where they live, according to a new report from U.S. Global Change Research Program. The report published today includes scientific expertise, data and support from NOAA.

Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health: a scientific assessment
The report cover for Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health: A Scientific Assessment.(U.S. Global Change Research Program)

The study finds that as the climate continues to change, the risks to human health will grow, worsening existing health threats and creating new public health challenges. Nearly all of the health threats, from increases in our exposure to excessive heat to more frequent, severe or longer-lasting extreme weather events to degraded air quality to diseases transmitted through food, water, and vectors (such as ticks and mosquitoes) — even stresses to our mental health — are expected to worsen.

Some special populations of concern, such as children, the elderly, outdoor workers and those living in disadvantaged communities, will be more vulnerable.

The report significantly advances what we know about the impacts of climate change on public health and the confidence with which we know it.

Find the complete report and download more images by visiting the U.S. Global Change Research Program website.

Read this blog by NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and other government leaders on how human health is vulnerable to climate change.