Informing about health effects of climate change
Synonyms: Providing public health information about global warming
Description: An effective information policy is fundamental to involving the public as partners in promoting better environmental health. Information is not only a prerequisite for effective participation in public decision-making processes; it is also necessary to enable individuals to make informed personal choices in their own lives which benefit their health and the environment.
Context: Global change processes are likely to have wide-ranging and potentially serious health consequences. Some health impacts will result from direct-acting effects (e.g. heatwave-related deaths, and ultraviolet-induced skin cancer); others will result from disturbances to complex physical and ecological processes (e.g. changes in patterns of infectious disease, drinking-water supplies and agricultural yields). Effects on the health of human populations are likely to become evident within the coming decades. Furthermore, failure to reduce fossil fuel combustion (as the principal means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions) will result directly in a continuing (and increasing) avoidable burden of death and disease from exposure to local air pollution.
Implementation: The health sector should support mitigation policies by widely disseminating relevant evidence- and science-based messages on the human health consequences of climate change among policy-makers, representatives of private enterprises and the general public. It is within the mandate of World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen this advocacy work in Member States by all possible means.
Subjects: Climatology Information HealthPublic
Type Classification: G: Very Specific strategies