By Renee N. Salas
The flurry of media around recent climate change reports may have left your head spinning. These were all released in anticipation of the United Nation’s 24th Convention of the Party (COP24), in follow-up to the Paris Agreement, where the actual nuts and bolts of achieving this historic public health commitment was to be ironed out.
There are two key messages from these reports for the United States. First, climate change is human caused, happening today, and is worse than predicted. Second, climate change is harming the health of Americans now.
As an emergency medicine doctor, telling a patient a diagnosis is something I do frequently. Thus, if America were my patient, I would say that while the health diagnosis of climate change is grave, there is reason to be optimistic — because treatment exists. That treatment is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and switching from fossil fuels to solar and wind.
To achieve this treatment in our current political environment, we need historic teamwork that involves every discipline. This includes medicine, law, and bioethics joining together in novel collaborations that work to improve health and save lives.