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Washington StateThe Collaborative on Health and the Environment – Washington

A Partnership Network for Environmental Health
Established and Coordinated by the Institute for Children's Environmental Health

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Climate Change & Health

It is widely recognized that climate change will affect health, and may be affecting it already. Potential adverse health effects include increasing rates of asthma, heart attacks, stroke, skin cancer and cataracts, as well as increased mortality from extreme temperatures and weather events, and higher rates of some vector borne diseases.

The most authoritative general global study on the health effects of climate change was prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC's Third Assessment Report on "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" contains a chapter on Human Health that describes these health effects in more detail.

At a national level, the "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the United States" includes an assessment of the effects on health.

Summary of Information on Washington State

From National Organizations:

In 1997, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a short document on "Climate Change and Washington State". The report states that climate change in Washington State could increase winter-related mortality and worsen air pollution. Poorer air quality could increase respiratory illnesses and reduce agricultural crop yields.

There is a "Scientific Consensus Statement on the Likely Impacts of Climate Change on the Pacific Northwest". This is a statement drafted by participants at a conference on climate impacts on the Pacific Northwest, held in Oregon in 2004.

From State Organizations:

We were unable to find any information on climate change and health produced by Washington State organizations.

There is some information available on the effects of climate change. For example: The Washington Department of Ecology has a fact sheet on "Global Warming/Climate Change".

The Department of Health maintains the Washington Electronic Disease Surveillance System that monitors the occurrence of many communicable diseases that would be exacerbated by climate change, including food and vector-borne diseases.

From Local Organizations:

We were unable to find any information on climate change and health produced by local organizations. There is some information from local organizations on the environmental effects of climate change on Washington State that does not specifically include health:

From Academic Institutions:

We were unable to find any information on climate change and health from academic institutions, but there is some on climate change including:

Washington State University's Climate and Rural Energy Development Center has a webpage on "Climate Change in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest".

In 2005, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington published a report "Uncertain Future: Climate Change and Its Effects on Puget Sound".

The University of Washington's Water Resources Management and Drought Planning Group has a research project and a website on "Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources".

Other information from academic institutions includes:

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Information on Washington State in Context

There is very little information on climate change and health at a state level, so it is difficult to contextualize the information on Washington State. The "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the United States" predicts that temperature increases will be much greater in the southeastern and central US than in the Pacific Northwest.

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Quality of Information on Washington State

There is very little information available on climate change and health in Washington State, although there is relatively good information on the likely effects of climate change on the State. This may be because global climate change models are not sufficiently precise to allow specific predictions of human health effects at the State level.

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General Information Sources

The "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the United States": www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/

Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov/

Washington State Department of Ecology: www.ecy.wa.gov/ecyhome.html

Washington State University's Climate and Rural Energy Development Center's webpage on "Climate Change in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest": www.energy.wsu.edu/projects/climate/northwest.cfm

The Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington's report "Uncertain Future: Climate Change and Its Effects on Puget Sound": www.cses.washington.edu/cig/outreach/files/psat1005.shtml

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's webpage on "Global Climate Change": www.pscleanair.org/specprog/globclim/

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