Climate Change, Environment and Mental Health

Journal Article Annotations
2022, 4th Quarter

Climate Change, Environment and Mental Health

Annotations by Mary G. Burke, MD
January, 2023

  1. The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels.

PUBLICATION #1 — Climate Change, Environment and Mental Health

The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels.
Marina Romanello, Claudia Di Napoli, Paul Drummond, Carole Green, Harry Kennard, Pete Lampard, Daniel Scamman, Nigel Arnell, Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Lea Berrang Ford, Kristine Belesova, Kathryn Bowen, Wenjia Cai, Max Callaghan, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Jonathan Chambers, Kim R van Daalen, Carole Dalin, Niheer Dasandi, Shouro Dasgupta, Michael Davies, Paula Dominguez-Salas, Robert Dubrow, Kristie L Ebi, Matthew Eckelman, Paul Ekins, Luis E Escobar, Lucien Georgeson, Hilary Graham, Samuel H Gunther, Ian Hamilton, Yun Hang, Risto Hänninen, Stella Hartinger, Kehan He, Jeremy J Hess, Shih-Che Hsu, Slava Jankin, Louis Jamart, Ollie Jay, Ilan Kelman, Gregor Kiesewetter, Patrick Kinney, Tord Kjellstrom, Dominic Kniveton, Jason K W Lee, Bruno Lemke, Yang Liu, Zhao Liu , Melissa Lott, Martin Lotto Batista, Rachel Lowe, Frances MacGuire, Maquins Odhiambo Sewe, Jaime Martinez-Urtaza, Mark Maslin, Lucy McAllister, Alice McGushin, Celia McMichael, Zhifu Mi, James Milner, Kelton Minor, Jan C Minx, Nahid Mohajeri, Maziar Moradi-Lakeh, Karyn Morrissey, Simon Munzert, Kris A Murray, Tara Neville, Maria Nilsson, Nick Obradovich, Megan B O’Hare, Tadj Oreszczyn , Matthias Otto, Fereidoon Owfi, Olivia Pearman, Mahnaz Rabbaniha, Elizabeth J Z Robinson, Joacim Rocklöv, Renee N Salas, Jan C Semenza, Jodi D Sherman, Liuhua Shi, Joy Shumake-Guillemot, Grant Silbert, Mikhail Sofiev, Marco Springmann, Jennifer Stowell, Meisam Tabatabaei, Jonathon Taylor, Joaquin Triñanes, Fabian Wagner, Paul Wilkinson, Matthew Winning, Marisol Yglesias-González, Shihui Zhang, Peng Gong, Hugh Montgomery, Anthony Costello


The Finding: 
This is the year’s closing assessment by a large, interdisciplinary group of academics on how delays in moving away from fossil fuels is imperiling human health globally, through multiple pathways. It recognizes the impact of the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine as further weakening a robust global response. It reiterates multiple other reports from distinguished publications that the number one threat to human health is climate change, and we ignore it at a large health cost.

Strengths and Weaknesses: 
There is scrupulous review of the major drivers of health effects of climate change: heat, extreme events (weather, fire etc.), drought, infectious disease, food insecurity. It has a full panel on mental health effects. The report recognizes how lack of research, stigma, and lack of awareness reduce our understanding of the ubiquitous downstream effects of climate change. In a particularly interesting Section 2, “Adaptation, planning and resilience for health,” the report also outlines strategies and areas of hopefulness.

As clinicians and advocates for our patients, we all need to be aware of both the obvious as well as silent ways climate and environmental change are impacting our patients. The report notes how—including health systems—can mitigate their own carbon footprint including through use of renewable energy and transportation systems less reliant on fossil fuels.