Medical groups call climate change a 'health emergency'

A group of more than 70 medical and public health organizations, including some of the most prominent physician organizations, on Monday called for U.S. leaders to combat climate change, which the groups called a “health emergency.”

The groups, which called climate change “the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century,” released an agenda (PDF) to battle the problem.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced—it is a true public health emergency,” the groups wrote (PDF). Climate change is posing health risks from extreme weather events to air pollution to the spread of mosquito and tick-borne diseases.

Groups endorsing the climate change agenda including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Physicians.

The groups signed on to U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda and called on government, business and civil society leaders, elected officials and candidates for office to recognize climate change as a health emergency. The agenda urges leaders to take a series of actions designed to promote health and fight climate change.

The medical groups took action as climate change is emerging as an issue in the 2020 election and as Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for their first primary debate this week.

RELATED: Medical groups denounce Trump’s withdrawal from climate agreement

The groups outlined actions to reduce climate change including meeting and strengthening Paris Climate Agreement commitments, rapidly transitioning away from coal, oil and natural gas and towards renewable energy and encouraging a shift from driving to biking, walking or public transportation.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement in 2017, a move that was denounced by numerous medical groups because of its implications for human health.