Dr. Cecil Wilson
- 25 November 2013
Health costs will “continue to mount unless we take comprehensive action.”
Cecil B. Wilson, MD, an internist from Winter Park, Florida, USA, was inaugurated as President of the World Medical Association (WMA) in October 2012 at its General Assembly meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Wilson is Chair of the American Medical Association delegation to the WMA. He has served as a member of the WMA committees on Medical Ethics, Finance and Planning and Socio-Medical Affairs. In addition, Dr. Wilson has served for the past three years as a private sector advisor to the United States Delegation to the World Health Assembly at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
He spoke at Climate Week NYC in September 2012 on the health-related impacts of a changing climate.
“Well thank you so much and it is a privilege, as an American physician, to be here bringing the health perspective. Climate change is hazardous to our health. And we are seeing the evidence. Global warming produces extreme heat events that have killed thousands and tens of thousands around the world, including the United States.
"Heat waves are more frequent, more intense, and of longer duration, and cause illness and death from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and respiratory disease.
"Extremes of weather are more frequent including storms, heavier downpours, and flash flooding, and are associated with water-borne disease outbreaks when flooding overwhelms sewer systems and contaminates drinking water.
"Increased temperatures, elevated carbon dioxide production from burning fossil fuel boost pollen production from ragweed. And the pollen grains hitch rides on particulates from diesel and coal productions delivering those allergens deep inside our lungs. The result: the allergy system has lengthened by two to three weeks since 1980, and asthma rates have doubled in the United States.
"Warmer weather favors disease-bearing insect migration. For example, in the past decade, tick-borne Lyme disease, in addition to rising tenfold in Maine, is now occurring in northerly parts of the state for the first time.
"Warmer weather also favors increases in insect populations. And the wakeup call this year is the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus outbreak. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports, as of September 11, a total of 2,636 cases and 118 deaths in 48 states. This incidence is the highest reported since the disease was first reported – introduced – into the United States in 1999. And of that number, 1,405, or 53 percent, were classified as having the more severe neuro-invasive disease, such as meningitis and encephalitis.
"Climate instability, changing weather patterns, threaten our health and the vitality of our life-support systems. The harm to our health and well-being, associated health and social costs, will continue to mount unless we take comprehensive action.
"The report being unveiled here in connection with Climate Week, The American Clean Revolution: Why the US Should Play to Win in the Clean Economy, makes it clear. A transformation of the US economy, powered by clean, affordable energy, is good for competiveness, good for growth, for security, for infrastructure, and yes, good for our health."
Watch the speech recorded live at Climate Week NYC: