Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
January 15, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative.


In 2009, British medical journal The Lancet made the groundbreaking announcement that climate change is the biggest health threat of the 21st century, requiring close collaboration between scientists, health experts, and policymakers to solve. Fortunately, strategies that address climate change also have a host of co-benefits for public health, through not only reducing air and water pollutants but building also more sustainable, resilient communities. As highly trusted professionals, doctors and nurses are also ideal partners in public outreach and engagement on climate change.


If you are interested in learning more about how the health care sector in Sacramento region is planning to respond to climate change, please attend the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative's upcoming Quarterly Meeting on February 24th, which will feature an expert panel of health experts. Below are resources and articles to help you learn more about the health effects of climate change in advance of this quarterly meeting.  

News and Research
Climate Change: Our biggest health threat
Photo: Senor Codo/Flickr




This short but thorough article covers the major health impacts of climate change, from the spread of tropical diseases to the increased virulence of poison ivy to behavioral changes due to heat. (Wired)

Climate Change: A global public health emergency

Climate change may kill more people than ebola in the long run, says the British Medical Journal,


urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to announce a global public health emergency. "Deaths from Ebola infection, tragic and frightening though they are, will pale into insignificance when compared with the mayhem we can expect for our children and grandchildren if the world does nothing to check its carbon emissions," the journal said in its editorial. Aside from the 7 million premature deaths from fossil fuel, climate change's health impacts include malnutrition, spread of vector-borne diseases, heat stroke, and more. (RTCC)

How hospitals are stepping up to the challenge of climate change

Kathy Gerwig, environmental stewardship officer at Kaiser Permanente, discusses how health care organizations are responding to climate change. (link)

2014 was hottest year on record for Sacramento and the world

Photo: Garry Reed/[email protected]


The 2014 average temperature in Sacramento were a full degree hotter than the city's next-hottest year. Exacerbating the drought, it was also California's hottest year, with the average temperature 4.1 degrees hotter than the 20th century average. Worldwide, 2014 exceed 1998 to become the hottest year on record, but while 1998 was the tail of a super El Ni�o - which raises temperatures - 2014 experienced only a borderline El Ni�o. (SJMN, Sacramento Bee, Climate Central)

Climate change will deteriorate air quality

By 2050, more than half of the globe will be exposed to increasingly stagnant atmospheric conditions. While air quality research usually focuses on pollutants and emissions, this study examines how changes in climate will affect the number and duration of atmospheric stagnation events. If population exposure is factored in, the impact will be especially significant for the Western US, Mexico, and India. (Nature)

Mosquitos expected to spread more disease in the U.S.

Malaria is the deadliest mosquito-borne disease - over half of all deaths in human history were due to malaria. Though the number of malaria cases in the U.S. is small, it is growing, with cases doubling between 2008 and 2011. West Nile, the most common mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. grew from 700 cases in 2011 to 5,600 cases in 2012 in the 48 contiguous states. Every one degree increase in temperature can increase the mosquito population by 8 to 10-fold. Dengue fever and another mosquito-borne illness, chikungunya, are on the rise and likely to spread into the southern United States. (Des Moines Register)

Growing elderly population face increased climate vulnerability
Photo: AP Photo/ Damian Dovarganes

Elderly populations could be 10 times more at risk of heat wave exposure in 2090, according to a new study on global vulnerability to extreme weather focusing on the elderly. The study finds that in addition to the degree of expected climate change, population and demographic changes as well as geographic location have a significant impact on population vulnerability to climate impacts. (ThinkProgress)

Doctors: Climate change already affecting respiratory health

A survey of American physicians specializing in respiratory disease found that a majority of respondents are already seeing climate change-related health effects. Sixty-five percent thought climate change was relevant to direct patient care, while 44 percent thought climate change was already affecting the health of patients by "a great deal" or "a moderate amount." Doctors mentioned worsening asthma, longer and more severe allergy seasons, more cases of both acute and chronic lung conditions, and lung problems related to exposure to wildfires. Nearly 75 percent thought that doctors should play a significant advocacy role on climate change and health. (Huffington Post)

Most Americans lack awareness of climate's health impacts
Photo: Shutterstock


While 63 percent of survey respondents knew that climate change was bad for health, only one in four were able to list a specific effect. People also did not know who are the most vulnerable to climate-related health effects. However, nearly half of respondents trusted their primary caregiver for information on climate-related health impacts, suggesting that healthcare providers could play a greater role in public education. (Think Progress)

Tackling climate change presents 'golden opportunity' for public health

Expanding clean energy, planting more trees in urban areas, and creating sustainable food systems with less production and consumption of red meat are a few of the strategies that can improve both public health and fight climate change. (Huffington Post

Tribute: The man who linked climate change to public health

Tony McMichael pioneered the fledgling field linking climate change to its health effects. Using epidemiology research, he quantified many suspected effects and impacts of climate change, including heat waves and mortality patterns and the spread of vector-borne diseases. One of his last publications was a request to health professionals to speak out about climate change. McMichael worried that the human health dimension of climate change has long been overlooked for tangible impacts such as property and infrastructure damage. All important, he said, but it's perhaps even more important to recognize that climate change threatens people's health, and that in turn threatens social stability all over the world.  (NPR, obituary)

Resources and Tools
White House helps healthcare facilities with resiliency planning

Hurricane Sandy forced the evacuation of several hospitals when their backup generators failed, but it is crucial for healthcare facilities to ensure the continuity of their operations and quality of care before, during, and after extreme weather events. The White House is releasing a guide and toolkit to increase the resilience of healthcare facilities in response to climate impacts. Suggestions include siting emergency rooms away from flood zones, backup plans for electricity generation and water supply, and road planning to make sure doctors and nurses can get to the hospital in an emergency. Kaiser Permanente, the American Hospital Association, and others pledged to use the guide to plan for extreme weather and other climate impacts. (Guide, Fact Sheet, USA Today)

Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Guide for Health Departments

As part of the federal government's initiatives to help local communities prepare for climate change, the Center for Disease Control has released a tool to help local communities assess their vulnerability to climate-related health risks and evaluate the ability of hospitals, early response systems, and outreach efforts to deal with shifting hazards. (CDC

Upcoming Events
Quarterly Meeting - Health Care and Climate Change

Tuesday, February 24, 1-5pm

SMUD Headquarters Conference Center, 6201 S Street, Sacramento

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is pleased to invite you to its first Quarterly Meeting of 2015, featuring an in-depth exploration of the health care system in the context of climate change. A panel of health care experts will highlight climate impacts on public health and the steps that our regional health systems are taking to respond to and prepare for these impacts. The meeting will also feature numerous other presentations and discussions relevant to sustaining and enhancing our region's resiliency efforts. Space is limited - please register if you plan to attend. (Register)

Sustainable California Policy Seminars

Top academic researchers will be offering a series of seminars and workshops through the UC Davis Extension school and the multi-campus California Center for Sustainable Communities. Taking place across the state, seminar topics include integrating social equity into sustainable communities, analysis of best practices in implementing SB 375, a pedestrian rating system, and a EV-focused GIS toolbox for MPOs. See the schedule for details on time and location. (CCSC)

Webinar Series: Planning for Climate Change
January through April, 2015

Local governments have an integral role in addressing climate change. In this webinar series put together by the University of Illinois Extension, a diverse group of environmental policy experts will explore approaches to generate revenue by reducing emissions; incorporate successful policies and programs into sustainability plans; implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures; and utilize green infrastructure to ensure healthy ecosystems and safe communities. The webinar series starts January and runs monthly through April. (Univ. of Illinois)

DoE and USDA Solar Program Overview
Thursday, January 22, 12-1pm PST

Hear from solar experts on the fundamentals of developing a solar power program in your community. The webinar will introduce a range of policy and program options that have been successfully tested in cities and counties around the country, and highlight lessons learned and best practices. (Register)

Early Bird Registration Now Open: National Adaptation Forum 2015
May 12-14, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri

The National Adaptation Forum is the biennial gathering of the adaptation community to foster information exchange, innovation, and mutual support. At the Forum, participants learn how to make their work climate-informed, share what they have learned with others, and develop a stronger network of collaborative peers. The 2015 program focuses on integrating adaptation into all activities and breaking out of silos to create holistic, durable solutions. Early bird registration ends Feb. 28, 2015. (Register)

About the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, visit: