Climate Change and Human Health
- LAST REVIEWED: 22 September 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0077
- LAST REVIEWED: 22 September 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0077
There is increasing scientific evidence of the direct and indirect effects of climate change on human health. Direct impacts may be linked to changing weather patterns causing droughts, heat waves, floods, and windstorms, while indirect effects are those associated with the redistribution of diseases (e.g., malaria), pollutants (e.g., ozone), resources (e.g., food and water), and populations. Although in certain cases the effects on health are positive (e.g., reduced cold-related mortality in northern Europe), it is recognized that the adverse effects of climate change on human health are likely to outweigh any benefits in most parts of the world, with low-income countries being worst affected. This entry identifies resources that explore the effects of climate change on population health in both developed and developing countries. It also covers subtopics related to vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and related health risk assessment methods.
Introductory Works and Reviews
The references in this section include two introductory books, six reviews on climate change and health published in influential scientific journals, and two papers on the broad topic of climate change and food security. Maslin 2008 provides a short introduction to global warming, while Houghton 2009 gives a more comprehensive account of the science and policy of climate change. Costello, et al. 2009 focuses on managing the health impacts of climate change; Epstein 2005 gives a brief perspective on the health effects of climate change, mainly directed to health professionals; McMichael, et al. 2006 discusses the present and future risks of climate change for human health in a more technical review; Patz, et al. 2005 focuses on vulnerable regions; and St. Louis and Hess 2008 discusses the implications of climate change for global health. Brown and Funk 2008 focuses on the food security consequences of climate change in a paper that can be read in conjunction with LoBell, et al. 2008, which focuses on related needs for adaptation to climate change.
Brown, M. E., and C. C. Funk. 2008. Climate: Food security under climate change. Science 319:580–581.
This paper, published in one of the most influential scientific journals, focuses on the food security consequences of climate change, which are intrinsically related with public health, especially in developing countries.
Costello, Anthony, Mustafa Abbas, Adriana Allen, Sarah Ball, Sarah Bell, Richard Bellamy, Sharon Friel, Nora Groce, Anne Johnson, Maria Kett, Maria Lee, Caren Levy, Mark Maslin, David McCoy, Bill McGuire, Hugh Montgomery, David Napier, Christina Pagel, Jinesh Patel, Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira, Nanneke Redclift, Hannah Rees, Daniel Rogger, Joanne Scott, Judith Stephenson, John Twigg, Jonathan Wolff, and Craig Patterson. 2009. Managing the health effects of climate change: Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission. Lancet 373:1693–1733.
An extensive, multi-authored review (led by Professor A. Costello, Institute for Global Health, University College London) on the health effects of climate change, written for students and researchers. It makes a very good introductory text and provides a wealth of information and scientific references for more specialized reading.
Epstein, Paul R. 2005. Climate change and human health. New England Journal of Medicine 353.14: 1433–1436.
A brief and eloquent perspective on the health effects of climate change, written by the associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, and published in probably the most influential journal of clinical medicine. Epstein is one of the leading voices on this topic.
Houghton, John T. 2009. Global warming: The complete briefing. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Comprehensive, nontechnical account of the science and policy of climate change, including discussions of its causes and effects, impacts on health, and adaptation and mitigation options. It is written as a textbook, with summaries and questions at the end of each chapter, but can be used by the general reader.
Lobell, David B., Marshall B. Burke, Claudia Tebaldi, Michael D. Mastrandrea, Walter P. Falcon, Rosamond L. Naylor. 2008. Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030. Science 319:607–610.
Presents an analysis based on statistical crop models and climate projections which attempts to identify priorities in adaptation to climate change in different food-insecure regions such as South Asia and southern Africa.
Maslin, Mark. 2008. Global warming: A very short introduction. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
Informative discussion about the impacts of global warming. It draws on material from the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Parry, et al. 2007, cited under General Reference) and presents the findings for a general readership. The book also discusses the politics of global warming, including adaptation to climate change and mitigation options.
McMichael, Anthony J., Rosalie E. Woodruff, and Simon Hales. 2006. Climate change and human health: Present and future risks. Lancet 367:859–869.
A concise scientific review of the topic, focusing on certain technical aspects (e.g., whether health effects of climate change are detectable). McMichael is one of the leading authors on this topic. It provides a comprehensive list of scientific references.
Patz, Jonathan A., Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Tracey Holloway, and Jonathan A. Foley. 2005. Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature 438:310–317.
A relatively brief review of the health impacts of climate change, focusing mainly on vulnerable regions. Interesting discussion of the health implications of climate variability, future predictions, and uncertainties. It is a technical reading by some of the leading authors in this research field.
St. Louis, Michael E., and J. J. Hess. 2008. Climate change: Impacts on and implications for global health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35.5: 527–538.
A concise review of the health impacts of climate change at the global scale (mainly focusing on low-income countries) and implications for the practice of global health. Interesting discussion of promoting mutual awareness between the scientific communities studying global health and climate change.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion