AMA declares climate change public health crisis

The American Medical Association adopted a policy June 13 declaring climate change a public health crisis threatening the well-being of all people. 

The University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute's latest Air Quality Life Index, published June 14, found air pollution takes off 2.2 years off life expectancy for more than 97 percent of the global population when employing World Health Organization guidelines.

The AMA policy mobilizes the organization to advocate for policies limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions aimed at carbon neutrality by 2050 and support "rapid implementation and incentivization" of clean energy solutions and investments in climate resilience, according to a news release. 

"The scientific evidence is clear — our patients are already facing adverse health effects associated with climate change, from heat-related injuries, vector-borne diseases and air pollution from wildfires, to worsening seasonal allergies and storm-related illness and injuries," said Ilse Levin, DO, an American Medical Association board member. 

"Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis will disproportionately impact the health of historically marginalized communities. Taking action now won’t reverse all of the harm done, but it will help prevent further damage to our planet and our patients’ health and well-being."

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