Support Action: Combating the Health Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term changes in temperature and weather patterns. The Earth’s climate is affected by many factors. This includes natural forces such as changes in the sun or volcanic eruptions. Over the past few decades Concerns are growing about the connection of human activities to rapid climate change, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. and health effects

Climate change has a negative effect on people’s physical and mental health. Climate-related risks are not equally distributed.The AMA recognizes that minority and marginalized populations, children, pregnant people, the elderly, rural communities, and economically disadvantaged people will be disproportionately affected by climate change.

Climate change affects the health of all people in many ways. The American Medical Association has declared climate change a public health crisis that threatens the health and well-being of all people.

The AMA calls for limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius as well as reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Relevant policies adopted by the AMA House of Representatives:

    AMA has:

    • Sent a letter along with 23 other medical organizations asking the administration to uphold the country’s commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
    • Sign the U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda.
    • Filed an amicus brief (PDF) on whether the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could issue regulations limiting total carbon dioxide emissions from all power plants within the state.
    • Send a letter to EPA:
      • Requesting (PDF) to meet the strictest greenhouse gas emissions standards possible with available technology. It takes into account the proposed decision on emissions standards for the 2027 model year and subsequent light and medium-duty vehicles.
      • Proposal (PDF) Establishing National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution: A Review of Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Steam Generating Units. Residual risk review and technology review

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    The AMAs strategy for enacting climate change policy includes four priorities:

    1. Educate doctors and trainees about the health impacts of climate change.
      1. Continuing medical education on climate change from the AMA Ed Hub
    2. Identify and disseminate information to physicians on reducing carbon emissions in the healthcare sector and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
      1. Guidelines for steps towards going green (PDF)
      2. Improving Environmental Sustainability in Your Medical Practice with Todd Sack, MD, FACP (Webinar)
      3. What does sustainable eating mean for your patients and the world?
    3. Elevating the voices of physician leaders on climate change and health issues
      1. Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities Facing Clinicians by Frederick Chen, MD, MPH (Podcast)
      2. Renee Salas, MD, MPH, MS, on the intersection of health and the climate crisis (video)
      3. Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health with Colin Cave, MD (Video)
    4. Collaborate with stakeholders to develop policies and interventions with a unified voice.
      1. The AMA is a member of the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative. in reducing carbon in the health sector
      2. National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative Fighting Climate Change with Victor Dzau, MD (Video)

    Visit AMA’s Advocacy Operations to learn more about the advocacy priorities that AMA is actively working on.

    The AMA works to build support for policies critical to the nation’s health care system. And we couldn’t do it without your help. Learn more about how to get involved with AMA support.

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