Washington D.C.: To avoid the devastating public health consequences of climate change, policy makers need to act now to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as per the American College of Physicians (ACP).
ACP cites higher rates of respiratory and heat-related illnesses, increased prevalence of diseases passed by insects, water-borne diseases, food and water insecurity and malnutrition, and behavioral health problems as potential health effects of climate change. The elderly, the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable.
ACP says that physicians have a role in combating climate change, especially as it relates to human health.
ACP calls on the health care sector to implement environmentally sustainable and energy efficient practices and prepare for the impacts of climate change to ensure continued operations during periods of elevated patient demand.
ACP encourages physicians to become educated about climate change, its effect on human health and how to respond to future challenges. ACP recommends that medical schools and continuing medical education providers incorporate climate change-related coursework into curricula.
The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.