Climate change poses a significant threat to human health and well-being. The direct drivers of climate change can affect all Californians, but some Californians are most likely to experience adverse health outcomes.

Those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are the same that have historically experienced health inequities, so climate change has the potential to exacerbate a wide array of pre-existing inequities and conditions of vulnerability for already-disadvantaged people. Many people and places in the state are already experiencing health impacts made worse by climate change, including deaths and illnesses from extreme heat; mental health conditions and loss of jobs from drought; injuries, deaths, and displacement from wildfires; among many other impacts.[1, 2]

Conceptual diagram illustrating the exposure pathways by which climate change affects human health
This conceptual diagram illustrates the exposure pathways by which climate change affects human health. Here, the center boxes list some selected examples of the kinds of changes in climate drivers, exposure, and health outcomes explored in this report. Exposure pathways exist within the context of other factors that positively or negatively influence health outcomes (gray side boxes). Some of the key factors that influence vulnerability for individuals are shown in the right box, and include social determinants of health and behavioral choices. Some key factors that influence vulnerability at larger scales, such as natural and built environments, governance and management, and institutions, are shown in the left box. All of these influencing factors can affect an individual’s or a community’s vulnerability through changes in exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity and may also be affected by climate change.[3]

The good news is that addressing climate change could represent the greatest opportunity to improve public health in our time. Many of the strategies being pursued to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as transitioning to renewable energy and promoting low-carbon transportation and diet, also make us healthier. Such activities clean up our air and water immediately and give us more opportunity for exercise.

The California Department of Public Health, along with other state agencies and local health departments around the state are taking steps to plan for and protect against these risks through a variety of plans and programs. Highlighted below are some of the State’s most recent resources to help locals plan for and protect their communities against the impacts of climate change on health.

All Resources for Public Health


Alameda County Climate Change and Health Profile Report

California Department of Public Health. 2017
Assessment
This Climate Change and Health Profile Report is a county-specific report designed to help Alameda County prepare for the health impacts related to climate change through adaptation planning. The report presents projections for county and regional climate impacts, the climate-related health risks, and local populations that could be vulnerable to climate effects.

Alpine County Climate Change and Health Profile Report

California Department of Public Health. 2017
Assessment
This Climate Change and Health Profile Report is a county-specific report designed to help Alpine County prepare for the health impacts related to climate change through adaptation planning. The report presents projections for county and regional climate impacts, the climate-related health risks, and local populations that could be vulnerable to climate effects.

Amador County Climate Change and Health Profile Report

California Department of Public Health. 2017
Assessment
This Climate Change and Health Profile Report is a county-specific report designed to help Amador County prepare for the health impacts related to climate change through adaptation planning. The report presents projections for county and regional climate impacts, the climate-related health risks, and local populations that could be vulnerable to climate effects.

Butte County Climate Change and Health Profile Report

California Department of Public Health. 2017
Assessment
This Climate Change and Health Profile Report is a county-specific report designed to help Butte County prepare for the health impacts related to climate change through adaptation planning. The report presents projections for county and regional climate impacts, the climate-related health risks, and local populations that could be vulnerable to climate effects.

Calaveras County Climate Change and Health Profile Report

California Department of Public Health. 2017
Assessment
This Climate Change and Health Profile Report is a county-specific report designed to help Calaveras County prepare for the health impacts related to climate change through adaptation planning. The report presents projections for county and regional climate impacts, the climate-related health risks, and local populations that could be vulnerable to climate effects.

California Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (CalBRACE)

California Department of Public Health. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Extreme storms Sea level rise Temperature Wildfire
Data, tools, and research
The goals of the CalBRACE project are to enhance the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) capability to plan for and reduce health risks associated with climate change. The program provides resources and technical assistance for state and local public health departments to build climate adaptation capacity and enhance resilience at the local and regional levels. The program also includes a framework that enables health departments to incorporate the best available climate projections and epidemiology analysis into a traditional preparedness planning process.

California Environmental Health Tracking Program

California Department of Public Health. 2018
Extreme heat Wildfire
Data, tools, and research
The California Environmental Health Tracking Program works to make environmental health data and information publically-available through the development of a web-based data query system, data displays, and other web tools and services. The program includes data on air quality, asthma, climate change, drinking water, housing, and more.

California Heat and Health Project

427. 2017
Extreme heat Temperature
Data, tools, and research
The California Heat & Health Project is funded by the California Energy Commission as part of the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment to develop an interactive, user-friendly tool that will provide public health and planning stakeholders with detailed projections on extreme heat events and the potential health impacts for local communities.

City of Sunnyvale Climate Action Plan

City of Sunnyvale. 2014
Sea level rise Wildfire
Assessment Plan or strategy
Chapter 4 of the 2014 City of Sunnyvale Climate Action Plan lists adaptation strategies such as regional coordination and monitoring concerning wildfires, public health and sea level rise.

CivicSpark Case Study: Urban Heat Island Reduction Plan

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 2018
Extreme heat
Case Study
The Los Angeles County Climate Committee employed a consensus-oriented decision-making process and continual feedback from its member departments to craft a suite of strategies aimed at reducing the urban heat island effect. The result aims to be an action-oriented, practical plan that provides a blueprint for how County departments can work together to reduce Los Angeles County’s urban heat island effect. The Urban Heat Island Reduction Plan (Plan) outlines four strategies for addressing the urban heat island: Cool Roofs, Trees, Green Space, and Cool and Permeable Pavements.