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2016 Conference

Abstract Number: ETH-07 | ID: 4812

Temperature, health and Climate change: Ethical concepts

Wael Al-Delaimy*, University of California, San Deigo, United States, waldelaimy@ucsd.edu;
Climate change and global warming is a growing concern in public health. However, there is still limited understanding of the true nature and impact of temperature on morbidity and mortality. Temperature is the most obvious and direct public health related consequence of climate change compared to other indirect consequences of warming of oceans, agriculture and food insecurity, extreme weather event, or flooding. The main approach in addressing heat related health impacts is through modelling and future prediction of existing or new models for temperature and climate. However, there are many unknowns in these models given the impact of adaptation is not measured accurately and is not consistent across nations and populations within the same nations. This has caused much uncertainty, and even denial, that climate change can cause consequences to our health or that adaptation will actually help prevent such consequences. Given these methodological limitations, how can we communicate risk to the general population? What are the ethical guidelines we can pursue to address these methodological limitations within the public domain? How important is it to try to and focus this risk on vulnerable populations globally versus making general risk assessments that everyone would be impacted locally by the consequences of climate change? How we communicate these risks would have an important relation to prioritizing adaptation measures and strategies. The discussion will address the above questions and attempt to navigate a rather challenging exposure-disease association of climate and health.