Climate Change and Health: A Framework for Action

Public health engagement is critical to ensure that the public health sector prepares for climate impacts, and that climate change strategies promote optimal health and reduce health inequities. Our research delves deeper into the complex barriers to this important work, and identifies a number of immediate opportunities for public health and partners to work together towards improved health, equity, and climate change outcomes. These research findings helped to guide us in development of the framework we present below and in our recommendations for action.

Intervention StrategiesCommunity Capacity Building and Engagement




Surveillance, Evaluation, and Research

Root CausesSocial Inequities

Race/ethnicity, class, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation

Root CausesInstitutional Power

Government, schools, corporations, businesses, NGOs, faith organizations

Intervention StrategiesHealthy Communities and Environmental Change

Bike lanes, parks, barter systems, community gardens, healthy housing.

Intervention StrategiesPolicy and Systems Change

Intervention StrategiesPolicy and Systems Change

Root CausesSystems

Land use, transportation, energy, water, agriculture/food, economic, health care

Health Processes and StrategiesLiving Conditions

Physical: Transportation, housing, residential segregation, air/water/soil, work, greenspace
Social: Experience of inequities, social capital, support, isolation
Economic: Income, wealth, support
Services: Health care, education, retail

Intervention StrategiesMitigation

Clean energy, conservation and efficiency, bike, walk, transit, land use, forest preservation, agricultural practices, carbon capture

Climate Processes and StrategiesOther Environmental Impacts

Fisheries collapse, biodiversity loss, resource depletion

Intervention StrategiesRisk Reduction

Mold and toxin remediation, water quality and provision

Safety Net

Food assistance, social security, health care access

Health Processes and StrategiesHealth Behaviors

Nutrition, physical activity, violence, smoking, stress management, substance use

Health Processes and StrategiesHealth Risks and Exposures

Particulate matter, toxins, mold, secondhand smoke, violence, traffic, noise, food insecurity

Health + Climate Processes and StrategiesIndividual and Community Climate Change Vulnerability and Resilience

Intersection of resources (including social connection), coping mechanisms, exposures, and susceptibility

Health Co-Benefits or Co-Harms

Active transportation/physical activity; urban greening/food security/physical activity; SO2 seeding/air pollution; environmental justice & health equity impacts

Intervention StrategiesPublic Health Preparedness

Health risk assessment, community response teams, medical surge capacity

Intervention StrategiesMedical Care

Asthma management, injury care, medications, rehabilitative and support services

Disability and Death

Health and Social Costs

Intervention StrategiesClimate Education

Promote biking to work, plant-based diet, energy conservation, climate awareness

Climate Processes and StrategiesClimate Behaviors

Energy use, bike/walk/drive, diet/cooking, consumption and waste

Intervention StrategiesGeo-engineering

Ocean iron fertilization, space mirrors, sulfur dioxide release, cloud manipulation

Intervention StrategiesAdaptation

Seawalls, managed retreat, vaccination, urban heat island mitigation, sustainable food systems, vulnerability assessment, water conservation

Intervention StrategiesDisaster Risk Reduction

Cooling zones, weather warnings, hospital generators.

Intervention StrategiesDisaster Recovery

Response, clean up, relocation, rebuilding

Climate Processes and StrategiesGreenhouse Gas Emissions

CO2, methane, black carbon, other short-lived greenhouse gases

Climate Processes and StrategiesGlobal Climate Impacts

Warming oceans, acidification, seal level rise, climate variability, glacier and snow pack loss

Climate Processes and StrategiesLocal Climate Impacts

Extreme weather events, heat, precipitation, drought, flooding, saline incursion, wildfires

Climate Processes and StrategiesIntermediate Factors

Environmental: Ozone, water pollution, pollen production, microbial contamination, vector distribution, crop yield
Socioeconomic: Food and water prices, job loss, conflict over water, land, or food

Climate Processes and StrategiesClimate Change Health & Inequities Impacts

Injuries and drowning, heat illness, water-, food-, and vector-borne illness, displacement, food/water insecurity, stress/mental health, chronic disease


Please review the full Climate Change, Health, and Equity: Opportunities for Action report for more information.