To build upon the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of France jointly hosted the Second Global Conference on Health & Climate: “Building Healthier Societies Through Implementation of the Paris Agreement” on July 7-8 in Paris. The original Paris climate agreement, of which the U.S. is a signatory, was completed on December 12, 2015. This conference responded to the commitments to protect and promote health, and their requests through the World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board, to renew and reinforce the engagement of the health community to respond to climate change, and to address closely related environmental issues, including air pollution.
NEHA’s Executive Director, Dr. David Dyjack, had the privilege of attending and contributing to the conference. There was great attendance, quality interventions, and an overall positive and coherent message of a strong health community ready to implement the Paris Agreement. Dr. Dyjack spoke to the 500 delegates during the closing session about the potential contributions of the sizeable global environmental health workforce, which had been largely overlooked. Please see his column in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health.
For more information, please see the Conference Conclusions and Action Agenda.
A recent report released from the White House addresses the public and environmental health impacts of climate change. The report was informative and helped bridge the gap between climate change and environmental health. NEHA’s Director or Government Affairs, Joanne Zurcher, was at the White House during the live streamed event and NEHA members were invited to participate in the exclusive White House call that followed the publicized live streaming event.
During the call NEHA members were able to engage in a question and answer session with the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John P. Holdren, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Also during the call the report was summarized to cover key findings about climate change and its effects on public and environmental health.
"Environmental health professionals work in your communities to protect your air, food, and water. The President’s Clean Power Plan builds on our profession’s efforts to create safe and healthy communities by limiting carbon pollution from power plants, which will improve and protect the public’s health now and for years to come. We welcome and support this significant milestone." David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH
Executive Director, NEHA
"With the increasing frequency weather-related events such as the tornado and flood warnings that hit Denver (June 25), it is heartening to see climate change getting the attention it deserves. Environmental health professionals have been on the frontline and have witnessed firsthand the real health effects of climate change that have been reported in the Lancet Commission Report on Health and Climate (June 23, 2015). Our members are the experts who work tirelessly to make our communities safer and healthier places to live and will no doubt be instrumental in the actions suggested in the Lancet." David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH, Executive Director, NEHA
“This is an important time in environmental health — the health threats from climate change are probably the most critical environmental health issue today. Environmental health professionals are the ones working to protect people's health and its environment—air quality, healthy homes, water, built environment, food safety/security, and more. NEHA supports the Lancet report that ‘tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.’ This is a priority for NEHA.” Vanessa DeArman, Sustainability Project Coordinator, NEHA
Further your understanding:
- NEHA 2015 AEC Climate Change Educational Sessions in Orlando
- NEHA 2014 AEC Recorded Climate Change sessions
Climate Change Resources:
New Article by The Lancet Climate Commission:
The Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change issued “Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health” with the imperative that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.” The Commission reaffirms the severity of the threat climate change poses to health globally, but adds support for action, finding that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. This report examines the latest health data and arrives at ground-breaking conclusions."
Articles by Dr. David Dyjack:
Articles by Journal of Environmental Health:
April 2014: 2012 NEHA/UL Sabbatical Report Vulnerability to Potential Impacts of Climate Change: Adaptation and Risk Communication Strategies for Environmental Health Practitioners in the United Kingdom (PDF)
May 2015: Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home