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On the Role of Public Health in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Planning

Patrick Kinney, Columbia University
Wednesday, June 18 @ 9:50am


Avoidance of human health damages among vulnerable populations has long been a key driver of environmental regulations in the US. To date, however, public health science has played a small role in climate change policy discussions. There is a growing body of research demonstrating health impacts of climate extremes in the present climate, with potentially more severe impacts in the future. I argue that public health science should play a central role in policy discussions around climate mitigation and adaptation planning. Among the many mitigation strategies available to achieve a given level of CO2 emission reduction, some but not all strategies bring substantial near-term health benefits for local populations, often in ways that reduce environmental inequities. Health impact assessment (HIA) can help quantify these benefits. HIA can also be used to identify emerging adaptation needs, by combining known exposure-response functions with projected climate change scenarios. I will illustrate these approaches using data on the health effects of heat and air pollution.


Projections of seasonal patterns in temperature-related deaths for Manhattan, New York
180 kb uploaded May 22, 2014 9:59am

Presentation Slides
686 kb uploaded September 30, 2014 7:45pm