Health at Stake in Climate Change: Action Needed Now
September 26, 2014
Statement from Mary Pittman, President and CEO of Public Health Institute
“This week, hundreds of thousands of citizens around the world raised their voices to call for leadership and action to address the increasingly present-day threat of climate change, in conjunction with the UN Climate Summit convened in New York by UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to catalyze action on climate change. The Public Health Institute wholeheartedly endorses the call for strengthened commitments at all levels of government and society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
“Climate change already harms health in communities across the US and globally, through impacts including increased drought, wildfires and extreme heat; intensified storms and flooding; and changing patterns of vector-, food-, soil- and water-borne disease.
“While climate change is a defining challenge, it is also one of our greatest health opportunities. Creating cleaner air, more walkable and bikeable communities, more sustainable agriculture and healthier and diverse foods now is a win-win-win: preventing higher climate costs down the road, improving health worldwide, and saving money by reducing illness and death.
“The UN Secretary General, citizens around the world and PHI agree, we must act now to protect health, reduce emissions, and support developing nations as they create clean energy and sustainable development.
“A number of important commitments were announced in conjunction with the UN Climate Summit. We must meet those commitments, and governments and businesses must do more: to reduce emissions, and to ensure equity for disadvantaged communities and developing nations."