How to communicate about climate change with patients

Climate change is arguably the most significant global health threat of the 21st century. Despite the increasingly visible impacts of climate change on our lives and health, conversations about climate change seem to have been shut out of the consultation. Where time and resources are under pressure, there may be little room for wider health promotion and conversations about underlying contributors to ill health. For many visits, though, the effects of climate change or fossil fuel pollution are intrinsic to the medical problems of the patient and the reasons for their visit. As trusted advisors, health professionals are in a position to help their patients understand the impact of climate change on their health, and what they can do about it at an individual and societal level. Here we present an overview of the ways that climate change may be incorporated into consultations, the evidence base for the impact this may have, and the barriers to change.


Kotcher JPatel LWheat SPhilipsborn RMaibach EHow to communicate about climate change with patients doi:10.1136/bmj-2024-079831