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PHI joins Global Call for Action on Climate Change and Health

June 23, 2015

Oakland, CA (June 23, 2015)—Calling climate change “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century,” a report released yesterday by the Lancet Commission on Climate Change and Health calls on governments around the world to implement nine key policy recommendations aimed at preventing climate change from undermining the gains made in global health over the last half century.


The Public Health Institute joined the Lancet and the White House in today’s call for action, participating in the global release of the Lancet’s special report by moderating a panel of climate change experts in New York, co-sponsoring a west coast press conference in Los Angeles and releasing “Act on Climate: California Communities Addressing Climate Change and Health.”


Noting a widespread lack of awareness of climate change as a health issue, the Lancet report calls for two kinds of immediate actions: cutting greenhouse gas emissions; and making communities more resilient to climate change effects. Its policy recommendations include expanding global access to renewable energy, helping cities promote healthy lifestyles and active transportation, scaling up climate resilient health systems, and investing in research on climate change and public health.


“Climate change may be our biggest health threat, but it is also our greatest health opportunity. Many climate solutions bring huge health gains,” explains Linda Rudolph, director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at the Public Health Institute, who is moderating the New York panel. “We need action from the local to the global level.”


“Almost every family I know has someone suffering from asthma, respiratory health problems, lung disease, or cancer,” says Jesse Marquez of Wilmington, California, one of the communities profiled in Act on Climate. Marquez, who lives four blocks from the Port of Los Angeles in a community plagued by asthma, took action by starting an organization dedicated to eliminating health impacts caused by pollution in the area.  From solar buses in Gilroy to promotora education in National City, the Act on Climate case studies demonstrate how communities can work at the local level to address the intersection of climate change and public health.

The New York Lancet report event occurred today at 11:00 am EST. Dr. Rudolph moderated a panel discussion featuring leaders in health, medicine, and the environment, including Dr. George Thurston, Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett, Dr. Ian Hamilton, Dr. Perry Sheffield and Dr. Philip J. Landrigan. PHI has also helped organize a press conference in Los Angeles at the California Endowment building at 10:00 am PST, where the list of speakers included representatives from the Los Angeles and Long Beach Departments of Public Health, the California Endowment, American Lung Association (California), American Heart Association (California), Community Health Councils, Citizens for a Better Environment, and Alta-Med.  


“If we want to save lives and reduce global health inequities, we must scale up strategies like the ones that have worked in California, and we must incorporate the adaptation and mitigation strategies outlined in the Lancet Commission’s report into every decision we make,” said Rudolph.



About the Public Health Institute 
The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world