How Climate Change Impacts Health

Unequal Health Vulnerability in a Heat Wave

Certain populations are more vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change, and disproportionately experience health harms from it, widening health disparities. This image from The Lancet Countdown shows how four people in an urban area are impacted by a heatwave, which are becoming more severe and frequent due to climate change, to highlight examples of vulnerability and adaptation.

how a heatwave affects a child, a pregnant woman, an outdoor worker and an elderly person

*Statistically, people of color are exposed to environmental harms at disproportionately higher rates. Therefore, it is included here as a risk factor for exposure.
Disclaimer: These fictional characters were created for illustrative purposes to highlight vulnerability, and certain vulnerabilities can exist in more than one category. 

Adaptation in Action 

States across the nation are taking action to reduce the effects of climate change on health.

Adaptation in Action: Grantee Success Stories from CDC's Climate and Health Program (PDF)

Adaptation in Action: Updated Grantee Success Stories from CDC's Climate and Health Program, Part II (PDF)

More Resources

Climate Change Fact Sheets

Climate Change and Lung Health Fact Sheets (PDFs in English and Español)

Climate Change and Health in Connecticut 2020 Report (PDF)

Climate Change, Health and Equity: A Guide for Local Health Departments

Health Approaches to Climate Change: How do health care providers and public health professionals approach climate change differently? (PDF)

The 2019 Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change (report)

The 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Policy Brief for the U.S. (report and appendix) 

Protecting Children's Health from Climate Change (PDF)

Successfully Preparing from Climate Change in New York State (PDF) (A story from the field)

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment (English version) (Spanish version PDF)

Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience (report)