City, County Health Officials Found Concerned; But Resources Lacking to Address Climate Risks

Climate change and its implications are increasingly showing up in the work of the nation’s polling and surveying organizations, with a new survey of city and county health officials showing growing concern … but not enough resources to do much about it.

The survey (pdf) of National Association of County and City Health Officials NACCHO) members was taken by the Environmental Defense Fund, George Mason University’s Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communication Research, and NACCHO.

The survey says that fewer than one in five of the health officials responding say climate change is among their department’s 10 highest priorities, with four in five saying they lack the skills needed to craft adaptation plans or preventive measures. Three in five said they expect their local populations to experience one or more serious public health problems over the next two decades as a result of climate change.

EDF chief scientist and report author John Balbus said in a release that the survey findings point to “serious gaps in the U.S. public health system’s ability to meet” public health challenges resulting from a warming climate. (See related story, The Yale Forum, April 2008) on climate change and public health.

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