Introduced by: Larry Junck MD, Washtenaw County,
with the support of the Washtenaw County delegation.
Whereas human-caused climate change is an urgent problem confronting Michigan, the US, and the world,
Whereas human-caused worldwide temperature increase has already reached 1.0 C above pre-industrial levels with no slowdown,
Whereas a global temperature increase above 1.5 C would be associated with major effects including rising oceans, more extreme weather events, threats to agriculture and to our food supply, and loss of species,
Whereas burning of fossil fuels already causes about 100,000 excess deaths annually in the US and 3.5 million deaths worldwide, and this loss of lives can be reduced by reducing the burning of fossil fuels,
Whereas other health consequences of climate change are many and may include health problems and deaths directly caused by heat, flooding in some locales, drought in other locales, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, interruption of clean water supply, starvation, problems caused by displacement of populations, and interference with the delivery of health care,
Whereas the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (hereafter “the Consortium”) has the potential to advocate effectively for measures to reduce climate change,
Whereas our AMA has joined the Consortium as an affiliate,
Whereas specialty organizations representing over 500,000 physicians are affiliates of the Consortium, including the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, and others,
Whereas the MSMS, if it joins the Consortium, may have the distinction of being the first state medical society to join,
Whereas joining the Consortium as an affiliate requires only endorsing the Consortium’s Consensus Statement, costs nothing, and is not associated with any other obligations,
RESOLVED, that MSMS endorses the Consensus Statement of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, thereby joining the Consortium as an affiliate member.
We – the undersigned medical societies – support the international scientific consensus, as established in multiple national and international assessments, that the Earth is rapidly warming, and that human actions (especially burning of fossil fuels) are the primary causes. As established in the 2016 U.S. Climate and Health Assessment – The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment – the resulting changes in our climate are creating conditions that harm human health through extreme weather events, reduced air and water quality, increases in infectious and vector-borne diseases, and other mechanisms. While climate change threatens the health of every American, some people are more vulnerable and are most likely to be harmed, including: infants and children; pregnant women; older adults; people with disabilities; people with pre-existing or chronic medical conditions, including mental illnesses; people with low-income; and indigenous peoples, some other communities of color, and immigrants with limited English proficiency.
As medical professionals, many of our members know firsthand the harmful health effects of climate change on patients. We know that addressing climate change through reduction in fossil fuel use will lead to cleaner air and water, to immediate health benefits for Americans, and will help to limit global climate change.
We support educating the public and policymakers in government and industry about the harmful human health effects of global climate change, and about the immediate and long-term health benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., heat-trapping pollution) and taking other preventive and protective measures that contribute to sustainability. We support actions by physicians and hospitals within their workplaces to adopt sustainable practices and reduce the carbon footprint of the health delivery system.
We recognize the importance of health professionals’ involvement in policymaking at the local, state, national, and global level, and support efforts to implement comprehensive and economically sensitive approaches to limiting climate change to the fullest extent possible.
Our organizations are committed to working with officials at all levels to reduce emissions of heat-trapping pollution, and to work with health agencies to promote research on effective interventions and to strengthen the public health infrastructure with the aim of protecting human health from climate change.