Climate change–driven health threats continue—as does fossil fuel use

October 31, 2022 – Climate change continues to pose dire threats to people’s health and health care systems around the world, according to a new report in The Lancet.

The nearly 100 co-authors of the report place much of the blame on fossil fuel companies for continuing to seek profits while catastrophic events driven by climate change—such as extreme heat, floods, superstorms, and fires—along with air pollution, lead to the spread of infectious diseases, mental health impacts, food insecurity, economic losses, and early deaths.

“The burning of fossil fuels is creating a health crisis that I can’t fix by the time I see patients in my emergency department,” said Renee Salas, a Yerby Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), in an October 25 NBC News article. “Fossil fuel companies are making record profits while my patients suffer from their downstream health harms.”

Salas, a co-author of the report as well as an accompanying U.S. policy brief, spoke at a virtual event on October 26 that dove into the findings and policy recommendations of the Lancet report and the policy brief. She was also quoted in articles in USA Today and the Associated Press.

In related news, a United Nations report issued on October 27 found that countries around the globe are failing to meet their stated commitments to reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Read the NBC News article: Doctors decry ‘record profits’ for fossil fuel companies as climate change weighs on global health

Read the USA Today article: How climate change is hurting Americans’ health—and what experts suggest we do about it

Read the AP article: Doctors say ‘fossil fuel addiction’ kills, starves millions

For stories of climate hope and action, subscribe to The Climate Optimist newsletter.