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June 25, 2008

Physicians and Environmental Change

JAMA. 2008;299(24):2856. doi:10.1001/jama.299.24.2856-a

To the Editor: In his Commentary, Dr Auerbach1 discussed the threat to human health posed by alleged increases in environmental disasters and urges physicians to become more environmentally aware. A recurrent theme is that environmental change is occurring rapidly, human activity is a primary cause, and most of the outcomes will be negative.

Climatologists are not uniform in their assessment of climate change.2 Catastrophic global cooling and warming theories have alternated in popularity for over a century. In March 2008, the International Conference on Climate Change2 challenged the purported consensus on human-induced climate change. This conference was attended by atmospheric and climate scientists who are skeptical that humans are the main driver of climate change. It also included scientists who believe that human-induced climate change is a reality but not a pressing problem for a variety of reasons.

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