King County releases blueprint to address climate change and public health

SEATTLE – Seattle and King County Public Health have developed a blueprint to address climate change and health.

During a meeting, county leaders say it’s one of the most important challenges of our lifetime.

The blueprint is 31 pages in length, and covers public health action and developing leadership. It includes building climate and community resilience, climate change in the Puget Sound region and specific impacts on people’s health.

In the blueprint, it said higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing global temperatures and sea levels to rise, snow and ice to decline and weather to become more varied and extreme.

The projected local impacts include more extreme heat days, more poor air quality days from larger and more frequent wildfires, and heavier and more frequent rainstorms and flooding, according to the report.

Q13 Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley says health concerns are legitimate, but says to keep in mind the Earth is older than all of us and moves in cycles that weren’t previously recorded by people.

“It is dangerous for us to not pay attention to extra pollutions, and extra cancers and extra stuff in our lungs,” said Kelley. “I think more about what climate change is doing to perhaps our children and our children’s children because of the amount of pollution we’re putting in the air.”

County health officials said this blueprint offers a unique and necessary approach to incorporating health and equity into climate change planning across King County.