Public Health and Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change will impact public health and safety due to increased heat waves and associated air pollution, increased fires and associated air and water pollution, introduction of new diseases, pests and invasive species, impacts to agriculture and water supplies, and more.
The California Department of Public Health and local health departments are taking steps to plan for and protect against these risks. Steps to reduce fires and floods, and to promote Cool Communities will also protect public health.
Protect Against Heat
The heat is on in California. Average temperatures are going up and California is experiencing more frequent and severe heat waves. Increased heat events lead to death and illness, increased air pollution and fires, greater risk of food and water contamination, new pests and pathogens, and increased energy demand and supply challenges. Heat also affects agricultural productivity and the safety of agricultural workers.
To learn more about how to protect against heat events, see:
- Preparing California for Extreme Heat
- California State Heat Plan
- Public Health Impacts of Climate Change in California: Community Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies - Report No. 1: Heat-Related Illness and Mortality
- Communicating Health Risks in Heat Emergency (Health Canada)
- Extreme Heat Media Toolkit (CDC)
- Reducing Urban Heat Islands: A Compendium of Strategies (USEPA)
- Cool Roofs Save Lives
Protect Against Drought
Climate change has already affected California's snow pack, which stores much of the State's summer water supply, and will have increasing impacts on the availability of water in the future. To protect against droughts, see:
- Protecting Public Health During Drought Conditions: A Guide for Public Health Professionals (CDC)
- California Rural Water Association information on drought preparedness
Protect Against Wildfires
Increasing temperatures, severe storms wind and invasive species all increase the risk and severity of wildfires. To reduce public health impacts from wildlife, see:
- Wildfire smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials
- Health Threat from Wildfire Smoke - Protect Yourself
Protect Against Vector-borne Disease
Increased temperatures mean greater risk of food and water contamination, new pests and diseases. To protect public health against these, see: