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March 2, 2019

Adapting to the Effects of Climate Change in the Practice of Dermatology—A Call to Action

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Dermatol. 2019;155(4):415-416. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.5863

In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its landmark special report.1 Written by 91 authors from over 40 countries, it presented a stark characterization of the consequences of climate change. In addition to elucidating the irreversible effects of the 1.0°C rise in average global temperature that has occurred since the industrial revolution began, the IPCC warned, in a global call to action, that limiting further warming to only 1.5°C will require rapid, expansive, and unprecedented changes to human behavior by 2030.1 Shortly thereafter, the Fourth National Climate Assessment from the US government echoed these concerns: “Mitigation and adaptation efforts … do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment and human health over the coming decades.”2(p69) Unfortunately, the ongoing politicization of climate change makes it challenging to take necessary actions. Physicians can provide a trusted voice to educate the public about the health hazards of climate change. Dermatologists, too, should become versed in the ways it threatens patients, practices, and well-being.

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