The US Climate and Health Alliance brings together public health and health care professionals and organizations who recognize the urgent need to address climate change to protect health, equity, and sustainability. Climate change is already affecting the health of people in the US and around the globe. Extreme drought, floods, storms, excessive heat, fire, and poor air quality are adversely affecting asthma, allergies, infectious diseases, nutrition and food security, cardiovascular health, mental stress, and more. These health impacts of climate change disproportionately harm children, elders, those with chronic illness, and people in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities and developing nations.
The US Climate and Health Alliance aims to deploy the expertise and raise the voice of health workers to limit further global warming, protect people today and in future generations from the adverse consequences of climate change, and promote climate strategies that will create healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities for all.
We work to advocate for effective actions that will limit further climate change, protect health in an era of climate change, and promote healthy, equitable and climate-resilient communities. We know that many approaches to address climate change offer co-benefits to health, while others bring adverse health consequences, and we push for strategies that both effectively address climate change and provide health co-benefits. We work for decision-making processes that include community involvement, because full community participation leads to healthier, more equitable and more sustainable results. We work to ensure that health, equity, and human rights are considered and protected in all climate change strategies, by bringing the health voice to bear on climate policies, programs, plans and negotiations.
The Alliance supports programs, policies, and actions that advance the following objectives:
- Emissions reduction: Greenhouse gas emissions must be significantly reduced without delay, to avoid reaching a climate “tipping point” that will increase the likelihood of catastrophic consequences for health and well-being.
- Action for adaptation and resilience: Because climate change is already occurring, we must also act now to protect people from the impacts of climate change and to build climate resilient communities with the social, economic, and physical capacity to thrive in the face of climate change.
- Co-benefits: Many climate action strategies can result in significant health gains, but some climate actions may have adverse health consequences. The health and equity consequences of climate action strategies must be considered, and those with climate and health co-benefits should be prioritized.
- Equity: Climate change threatens to disproportionately harm the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged; strategies to address climate change must link with efforts to address health and social inequities and human rights.
- Health in All Policies: Sustainable, resilient communities can only be achieved through mutually reinforcing changes in transportation, energy, housing, agriculture, commerce, water, health care, and other systems; collaboration across sectors and a “Health in All Policies” approach are thus required to ensure that systems are sustainable and aligned with the needs of both people today and future generations.
- Community involvement: Community members must have a real voice in developing climate change strategies and policies at the local, regional, state, national, and international level.