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.

Safeguarding California Plan

2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy (Chapter 4: Public Health)

Climate Action for Health: Integrating Public Health into Climate Action Planning

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:

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:

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:

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: