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Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law

Book description

Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law provides the first comprehensive explication of the dynamic interactions between climate change, public health law, and environmental law, both in the United States and internationally. Responding to climate change and achieving public health protections each require the coordination of the decisions and behavior of large numbers of people. However, they also involve interventions that risk compromising individual rights. The challenges involved in coordinating large-scale responses to public health threats and protecting against the invasion of rights, makes the law indispensable to both of these agendas. Written for the benefit of public health and environmental law professionals and policymakers in the United States and in the international public health sector, this volume focuses on the legal components of pursuing public health goals in the midst of a changing climate. It will help facilitate efforts to develop, improve, and carry out policy responses at the international, federal, state, and local levels.


'Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law makes a unique and timely contribution. Policy, law and regulation concerning climate change must be informed by scientific insights into public health impacts. This collection from leading scholars offers broad, thorough coverage of key topics to help translate this scientific information into much needed action.'

Michael B. Gerrard - Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School

'Climate Change, Public Health and the Law is a clear and clarifying treatise. It enumerates how legal standards to date have framed the right to health, and how they will have to change to protect public health in a changing climate. Its chapters on a range of health-, climate- and law-related topics also illuminate current legal thinking and identify the many challenges with which governments must grapple as they pursue effective regulation and accountability for the public health impacts of climate change. A must read for lawyers, scientists and public health practitioners working on these critical issues.'

Jeffrey Shaman - Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Director, Climate and Health Program, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York

'Impact on human health is the most significant measure of the harm done by climate change, and health can be a positive driving force for the climate agenda and a means to engage the public in finding solutions. Indeed, policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions have the potential to improve public health substantially, reducing the global burden of a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental illness, lung disease and road deaths and injuries. What is good for the environment is often also good for health. Yet, the integration of public health considerations into responses to climate change is very poor. The World Health Organization welcomes Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law, and believes it can serve as the basis for future collaboration and dialogue between the public health, the climate change and the law communities for the promotion of climate legislation that puts public health outcomes at the center of law and regulations.'

Maria Neira - Director, World Health Organization, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health

'Climate change requires a fundamental rethinking of much that we take for granted - the ways we produce and consume food, build buildings, travel, harness energy - as well as of the public health strategies, policies, laws, and practices we have long relied on. The authors offer clear assessments of how traditional practices will perform in coming decades but also propose innovative solutions that span scales, timeframes, and disciplinary boundaries. This book will be the standard source on the intersection of climate change, public health, and law.'

Howard Frumkin - University of Washington School of Public Health

'Rains, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes of biblical proportion hit the US in 2017 and 2018, proof that climate change's future is now. The first comprehensive book of its kind, Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law couldn't be more timely or more important. Its chapters address virtually every important question we face as we confront rising temperatures and the consequences of heat waves, storm surges, increases in communicable diseases, changes in food production and waves of migrants seeking refuge from climate-related disasters.'

Ann Carlson - Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law, University of California, Los Angeles and Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

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