Statement on the Lancet Countdown 2017 Report

The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (Consortium) issued the following statement in response to the Lancet Countdown 2017 Report: U.S. Briefing (U.S. Briefing) released by The Lancet journal as part of the global report, The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate.

Interviews with leading physicians of Consortium medical societies or Dr. Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, FAAFP, are available upon request. This statement can be attributed to Dr. Sarfaty or the Consortium.

“The findings from the Lancet Countdown put into stark terms the challenges that America’s doctors are facing—a changing climate that is making our patients sicker.

“The new report captures trends that Americans are seeing in the news every day; our health is harmed by more frequent extreme weather events, like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and wildfires, like those in California, which are made worse by heat, drought and changing weather patterns. The tolls of climate change on our health are felt in many ways beyond the headline-grabbing events. It is harming our health today and it will only get worse unless we act.

“Doctors are speaking up because we understand that climate change is happening, and it affects everyone’s health, but especially some of our most vulnerable. Low-income people, people of color, older people, children, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions are all disproportionately affected by climate change.

“The U.S. Briefing is a useful tool for the more than half a million doctors represented by the Consortium to understand our national exposure to health risks of climate change, and our progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The good news is that the U.S. Briefing shows that the use of coal as a source of energy in the United States has decreased over time, while we’ve seen a remarkable ten-fold increase in clean energy sources. Switching to clean, renewable energy sources is the best way to improve health today—by reducing heart attacks, strokes and lung diseases linked to the use of dirty fossil fuels—and fight the health harms from climate change in the long-term.

“Doctors are treating the health harms of climate change today and our members are advocating to fight climate change to prevent these harms from getting worse.

“The Lancet Commissions are making a substantial contribution to our ability to track the health risks that flow from the impacts of climate change and the progress we make toward protecting health infrastructure and reducing the output of carbon-containing greenhouse gases that threaten our future.”


About the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health

The mission of the Consortium is to inform the public and policymakers about the harmful health effects of climate change on Americans, and about the immediate and long-term health benefits associated with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and other preventive and protective measures.  This mission is reflected in the Consortium’s Consensus Statement and in the attached report “Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health.”

This statement is released on behalf of the following members of the Consortium representing more than half the doctors in the U.S.:

  • The American College of Physicians
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics
  • The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • The American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)
  • The American College of Preventive Medicine
  • The American Geriatrics Society
  • The American College of Lifestyle Medicine
  • The Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
  • The American Association of Community Psychiatrists
  • The American Telemedicine Association
  • The National Medical Association
  • The Society of General Internal Medicine
  • American Medical Women’s Association
  • American College of Emergency Physicians, CA Chapter
  • American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Society for Gynecologic Oncology