Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

I am writing to thank the Salt Lake County Health Department for issuing its “Climate Adaptation Plan For Public Health.” Its plan creates a framework to address climate change related health risks and actions needed to address the effects on residents in the Intermountain West.

It acknowledges the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning that ”widespread scientific consensus exists that the world’s climate is changing. ... These impacts could negatively affect public health.” Climate changes will continue to affect our air quality, water resources, extreme weather events, increased pathogens, contaminates and disease vectors such as mosquitoes. Significant public health impacts should be expected.

The health department’s plan addresses these likely impacts on the people residing in this region with concrete suggestions for mitigating actions that should be implemented now. Collaborators include Heat Risk Initiative, Utah Climate Action Network, Wasatch Clean Air Network and Utah Clean Cities Coalition. Many more stakeholders are needed at the table.

That Salt Lake County Health Department has brought these issues to the public’s attention is commendable. Steps are needed now to identify and fund mitigation measures. Without higher-level policy changes to directly address climate change, local health officials are left to assume responsibility for damage control.

Susan Corth

Salt Lake City