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Applying a Public Health Context to Climate Change 

Applying a Public Health Context to Climate Change
Chapter:
Applying a Public Health Context to Climate Change
Author(s):

Jonathan A. Patz

and Barry S. Levy

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190202453.003.0001
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date: 30 March 2020

The Earth has been warming due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels. Resultant climate change will be manifested by warmer temperatures, extremes of the hydrologic cycle (floods and droughts), and sea level rise. Health effects include heat-related disorders, respiratory and allergic disorders, infectious diseases, health consequences of food insecurity, mental health impacts, and violence. Populations vary in their vulnerability to climate extremes and capacity for adaptation. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions may offer substantial health co-benefits. This chapter also contains textboxes on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a brief history of organizational responses to climate change, health effects of climate change in Arctic indigenous communities, the effect of climate change on workers, and health co-benefits of climate change mitigation policies.

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