The impacts of climate change on human health have been documented globally and in the United States. Numerous studies project greater morbidity and mortality as a result of extreme weather events and other climate-sensitive hazards. Public health impacts on the U.S. Gulf Coast may be severe as the region is expected to experience increases in extreme temperatures, sea level rise, and possibly fewer but more intense hurricanes.

In this commentary the authors summarize the health risks of climate change in the United States and examine the extent of federal funding devoted to understanding, avoiding, preparing for, and responding to the human health risks of climate change.

Because the state of the atmosphere determines the development, transport, dispersion, and deposition of air pollutants, there is concern that climate change could affect morbidity and mortality associated with elevated concentrations of these gases and fine particles.

Climate change, interacting with changes in land use and demographics, will affect important human dimensions in the United States, especially those related to human health, settlements and welfare.