Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. According to the World Health Organization, the direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture, water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US $ 2 – 4 billion per year by 2030

One must also pay close attention to the increasing severity of major storms. Katrina, Sandy, and the most recent tropical storm Haiyan, all play a part in the impact to our health. Out of the federal aid requested for New York after Hurricane Sandy, 3.1 billion dollars of it went towards healthcare damages.

The impacts of climate change on public health around the globe, according to the EPA, could have important consequences for the United States. For example, more frequent and intense storms may require more disaster relief and declines in agriculture may increase food shortages.

This photo shows just how devastating the effects of climate change can be to the world. Pictured are thousands of individuals struggling to regain solid ground after Super Typhoon Haiyan demolished the Philippines

This photo shows just how devastating the effects of climate change can be to the world. Pictured are thousands of individuals struggling to regain solid ground after Super Typhoon Haiyan demolished the Philippines

In a 2010 paper, Dr. Christopher Portier, former Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the CDC wrote, “climate change endangers human health, affecting all sectors of society, both domestically and globally. The environmental consequences of climate change, both those already observed and those that are anticipated, such as sea-level rise, changes in precipitation resulting in flooding and drought, heat waves, more intense hurricanes and storms, and degraded air quality, will affect human health both directly and indirectly.”

A warming planet threatens people worldwide, causing deaths, spreading insect-borne diseases and exacerbating respiratory illnesses. Extreme weather will also put more people in harm’s way.

The World Health Organization believes that even the modest increases in average temperature that have occurred since the 1970s are responsible for at least 150,000 extra deaths a year.