November 29, 2018

Lancet Countdown: Climate Change threatens people's health today

Climate change threatens the health of people around the world today.

In the United States, increases in heat and heatwaves pose a serious threat to health and labor productivity. Inreases in extreme weather events significantly threaten both health and health systems. And climate change is elevating the risk of misquito-, tick- and water-borne diseases.

These are the results of the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Brief for the U.S., which was presented in Washington D.C. on November 29, 2018. Renee Salas, HGHI affiliated faculty and Burke fellow and also an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, was the lead author of the report. 

The brief draws out some of the most nationally-relevant findings of the global 2018 Lancet Countdown report with U.S. specific data to highlight the key threats and opportunities climate changes poses for the health of Americans. It includes three recommendations: 

  • Hospitals can lead America’s efforts to transform the energy system by transitioning to renewable clean energy.
  • Public Health Departments across America, while responding to climate change, need to increase their health-related adaptation and spending.
  • Health professionals, especially physicians, can play a major role in educating the public about the health impacts of climate change.

The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change is an international research collaboration, dedicated to tracking the world’s response to climate change, and the health benefits that emerge from this transition.

Watch video from the report’s launch event in D.C., which features the authors as well as former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other guests as they discuss the findings and next steps at