Washington State Medical Association Climate Change Resolution

Resolution B-4 - Climate Change

Introduced by: Mark Vossler, MD, Delegate
King County Medical Society

WHEREAS, climate change hurts real people right now with the effects on health including physical and psychological sequelae of weather disasters; increased heat stress; decreased air quality; altered disease patterns of some climate-sensitive infections; and food, water, and nutrient insecurity in vulnerable regions; and

WHEREAS, the same carbon-emission reduction efforts that would mitigate climate change would also have enormous co-benefits for public health, because coal, gasoline and diesel combustion are also responsible for most of our other air pollutants – particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide – which aggravate heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems; and

WHEREAS, an ever increasing number of leading medical voices and organizations have concluded that climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century, and what we face is a true planetary emergency that we must take immediate steps to address; THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, that the WSMA adopt the following position statement, “Climate change is a critical public health issue. The warming planet threatens us all, but our most vulnerable – children, the elderly, the poor, and those with chronic health conditions – are already suffering from and will feel the brunt of health impacts if climate change increases. Working together, we can take steps to lessen those changes and reduce the harm and health impacts on our children, grandchildren and all future generations;” (New HOD Policy) and BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the WSMA adopt “Supporting policies to lower emissions will also have immediate and significant health co-benefits. We therefore support policies that both reduce pollution and address the causes of climate change and that will create healthier, sustainable communities.” (New HOD Policy)

Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health The Lancet 2015; 386: 1861-1914.
Climate Change and Health: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians Ann Intern Med. 2016; 164(9):608-10
Patz, J. A., Frumkin, H. et al. Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Health JAMA. 2014, 312(15):1565-1580.
IPCC, 2014: Summary for policymakers In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, p. 1-32.

WSMA Policy


Environmental Protection
The WSMA supports and promotes, when possible, the use of reusable, recyclable and/or biodegradable products. (Res A-1, A-04)

The WSMA encourages collaborative efforts with the medical associations in British Columbia, Alaska, Oregon, and California to the extent practical to address the clear and present danger facing our fragile environment.

The WSMA is committed working with the state's congressional delegation to support legislation encouraging appropriate behavior by individuals and companies to reduce the risks inherent in our industrialized society. (Res 47, A-89)

The commenting period is closed

The commenting period for the Virtual Reference Committees is now closed, but we encourage you to attend the WSMA 2016 Annual Meeting, Oct. 1-2 for further discussion on resolutions and policy.