Climate Change and EM 01: Overview and Current State of the Climate Crisis

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Course Credit: 4 hours

This section will provide an in-depth review of the history of climate science, the mounting evidence behind climate change, and an introduction into our role as clinicians.

Curriculum: Module 1 of 10

TopicReading Material
Mitigation, adaption, and resilience: These 3 words are key to describing climate action, but what do they mean?23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
What is the difference between weather and climate?National Snow and Ice Data Center: Arctic weather and climate
History of climate science: In 1958, scientists proposed the idea that we might be causing irreversible change to our planet’s climate. Here you will find a brief narrative of climate science which has led us to our current understanding of climate change.University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR): History of climate science research
How do we know climate change is anthropogenic? Dive into data that supports one conclusion: climate change is influenced by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes (deforestation, urbanization). 97% of scientists agree.NASA Global Climate Change: The causes of climate change

Institute of Physics (IOP) Science: Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming
What are greenhouse gases?U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Overview of greenhouse gases

World Resources Institute: World Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2016
Attribution studies: Linking various weather phenomena to climate change is a challenging scientific feat. Attribution science helps understand how complex weather phenomena are being directly impacted by climate change.Carbon Brief: Mapped: How climate change affects extreme weather around the world

Nature: The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change
Annual state of the climate report: Various tools and metrics are used to track the global impacts of our changing climate known as global climate indicators. From surface temperature to glacier ice loss, these tools help create a comprehensive picture how our planet is changing. This report also summarizes annual weather events and how various regions of the world are being affected over time.World Meteorological Organization: State of the Global Climate 2021
History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Scientists from a variety of disciplines came together to create a powerful and robust summary of the human impacts of anthropogenic climate change.IPCC: Organization History
What is the Paris Agreement? In this landmark international agreement, nearly 200 countries committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But how does it work?United Nations Climate Change: The Paris Agreement
Critical role of health professionals: As emergency clinicians, we are already seeing the effects of climate change on the health of our patients. What is our role in the grand scheme of action?Journal of Climate Change and Health: Health professionals, the Paris agreement, and the fierce urgency of now

American Journal of Public Health: The critical roles of health professionals in climate change prevention and preparedness
The imperative of climate action to protect human health: It is this simple — climate action, whether through research, advocacy, education, or simply by understanding how to best provide climate-informed patient care, will improve the health of our communities.New England Journal of Medicine: The imperative for climate action to protect health

Optional Reading

TopicReading Material
Explore current weather and climate science
Other courses and modules

Climate Change and EM Team

  • Lead Author: Caitlin Rublee, MD, MPH
  • Secondary Authors: Catharina Giudice, MD; Katelyn Moretti, MD, MS; Kyle Martin, DO, MA, MPH; Andrew Musits, MD, MS
  • Contributors: Joseph Leanza, MD; Christine Baek; Nikhil Ranadive, MD, MS
  • ALiEMU Graphic Designer: Christopher Nash, MD
  • ALiEMU Peer Reviewer: Michelle Lin, MD
  • Sponsor: Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Curriculum design consultant: Simiao Li-Sauerwine, MD, MSCR with the ALiEM Education Research Lab and Incubator (ERLI)

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