Health and mental health impacts of climate change

Climate change is recognised as the greatest health threat of the 21st century and has significant impacts on physical and mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.
There are likely to be some (modest) positive health consequences from climate change (for example, reduced extreme cold weather events in some locations); however, climate change is already and will predominantly have mostly negative, and in some circumstances devastating, impacts on human health, particularly on those with low adaptive capacity.

A recent Lancet Commission Report on Climate Change and Health shows that the threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health

Climate change also has significant psychosocial and mental health impacts on individuals and communities. Rising sea levels, droughts and extreme weather events cause loss of habitat, water and food shortages, and threats to home and livelihood. The psychosocial and mental health impacts of these changes include displacement, dislocation from community, financial and relationship stress, multiple losses, increased risks of depression, anxiety-related disorders, grief and substance use disorders, and can lead to increased risks of national insecurity, violent conflict and increased mass migration. Indirect mental health consequences come in response to perceptions/fears of unprecedented scale of risks and observation of world-wide effects.

Children and Climate Change. 2016. Published in The Future of Children, Princeton University.

USGCRP. (2016). The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J.L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M.D. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D.M. Mills, S. Saha, M.C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, 312 pp.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7930/J0R49NQX.

UNICEF. (2015).  The impact of climate change on children. UNICEF, NY.

Acting Now for Better Health.  Report on significant, quantifiable, benefits to public health from strategies to reduce emissions. http://noharm.org/lib/downloads/climate/Acting_Now_for_Better_Health.pdf

Australian Academy of Science (2015).  Climate change challenges to health: Risks and opportunities.  Recommendations from the 2014 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank.  Published by AAS. www.science.org.au/theo-murphy-high-flyers-think-tanks

Burt, E., Orris, P, Buchanan, S. (2013).   Scientific Evidence of Health Effects from Coal Use in Energy Generation .  Report released by Health Care without Harm.  Accessed online 29th April 2013 at http://www.noharm.org/us_canada/reports/2012/dec/rep2013-04-11.php

Clayton, S., Manning, C. M., & Hodge C. (2014). Beyond storms & droughts: The psychological impacts of climate change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica.
http://ecoamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/eA_Beyond_Storms_and_Droughts_Psych_Impacts_of_Climate_Change.pdf

CLimate and Health Alliance CAHA and Doctors for the Environment DEA (2016).  Investing in Health.  Published by CAHA and DEA, Melbourne.

Climate Commission (2013).  The critical decade – extreme weather report.  Published by the Climate Commission.  Accessed online 29th April 2013 at http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/extreme-weather/

Climate Council (2016).  The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat.

Climate Institute (2011).  A Climate of Suffering: The real costs of living with inaction on climate change. Report released by The Climate Institute on mental health impacts of climate change. http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/a-climate-of-suffering.html

Costello, A., Abbas, M., Allen, A., Ball, S., Bell, S., Bellamy, R…..Patterson, C. (2009). Managing the health effects of climate change: Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission. Lancet, 373, 1693–1733. Available at: http://www.thelancet.com/climate-change

Costello, A., Maslin,M., Montgomery,H., Johnson, A.M. & Ekins, P. (2011). Global health and climate change: moving from denial and catastrophic fatalism to positive action. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 369, 1866-1882.

DARA (2012).  Climate Vulnerability Monitor report “Cold Calculus for a Hot Planet”.  Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition.  Report commissioned by 20 governments detailing costs of failure to act on climate change (cost to global economy $1.2 trillion annually, responsible for 400,000 deaths each year, costs expected to double over next two decades).  Available at http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/ 

Doherty, T. (2014) Mental health impacts. In J. Patz & B.S. Levy (Eds) Climate change and public health. New York: Oxford University Press.

Doherty, T.J. & Clayton, S. (2011). The psychological impacts of global climate change. American Psychologist, 66, 4, 265-276. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21553952

Doherty, T. & Chen, A. (in press). Improving human functioning: ecotherapy and environmental health approaches. From Gifford, R. (Ed.) (In press) Research Methods in Environmental Psychology. New York: Routledge

Fritze, J. G., Blashki, G. A., Burke, S., & Wiseman, J. (2008). Hope, despair and transformation: Climate change and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2. Available from http://www.ijmhs.com/content/pdf/1752-4458-2-13.pdf

Global Climate and Health Alliance (2015). Health and Climate at COP21 and beyond.

Gow, K. (Ed) (2009) Meltdown: Climate change, natural disasters and other catastrophes – Fears and concerns of the future. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Hughes, L. & McMichael, T., (2011).  The Critical Decade: Climate change and health. Climate Commission, Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency).  Accessed http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/the-critical-decade-climate-change-and-health.  The report is a comprehensive and up to date synthesis of the expected impacts of climate change on the health of Australians.

LANCET (2015). Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.

LANCET (2016). The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change

LANCET articles: • Health and Climate Change: the Lancet.  Series on the public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Covers: household energy; urban land transport; low carbon electricity generation; food and agriculture; and short term lived greenhouse pollutants. http://download.thelancet.com/flatcontentassets/series/health-and-climate-change.pdf.

Moser, S. C. (2013). Navigating the political and emotional terrain of adaptation: Community engagement when climate change comes home. In S.C. Moser & M.T. Boykoff (Eds.). Successful Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World (pp. 289–305). New York, NY: Routledge.

Morrissey, S. A., & Reser, J. P. (2007). Natural disasters, climate change and mental health considerations for rural Australia. Australian Journal of Rural Health,15, 120-125.

Our Uncashed Dividend.  The health benefits of climate action.  Report on the significant immediate health benefits possible from taking action on climate change.

Patz,J.A., Frumkin, H., Holloway, T., Vimont, D.J., Haines, H. (2014). Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities for Global Health.  JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13186
Published online September 22, 2014.

Portier, C.J. et al., (2010). A Human Health Perspective On Climate Change: A Report Outlining the Research Needs on the Human Health Effects of Climate Change. Research Triangle Park, NC: Environmental Health Perspectives/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Available: www.niehs.nih.gov/climatereport. A Report Outlining the Research Needs on the Human Health Effects of Climate Change.

Weissbecker, I. (Ed) (2011) Climate change and human well-being. New York: Springer.

World Health Organization. (2010). Climate change and human health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/globalchange/en/

World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA). 2015. Global Climate Change and Health Policy Survey Report.

World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA). Governments unprepared for the health impacts of climate change: global survey. National Climate and Health Policy Report.