5 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 99 (1997)
In this article, Professor Dale Jamieson examines the relationship between
climate change and public health from an ethical perspective. He begins by
exploring the link between global environmental change and public health and
concludes that global warming poses a serious potential threat to human
health. Professor Jamieson then questions why the potential health effects of
climate change have received so much attention when the other ramifications
of climate change have been left unaddressed He argues that the combination
of several factors has brought the issue of potential health effects to the
forefront of the climate change debate. One such factor is the championing
of the issue by "issue entrepreneurs ", small groups of people who employ
diverse forms of institutional authority to promote a specific issue. Another
contributing factor is an effort to engage the general public in the issue of
global change. The potential health effects of climate change have also been
brought to the forefront by the rise of AIDS, a disease which has proven that
the threat of infectious disease continues to affect public health. Finally, a
new understanding of microbes and a new motivation for development aid
have brought the potential health effects of climate change to public attention.
Professor Jamieson then examines both the direct and indirect health
effects of climate change. He analyzes whether the hypothesized effects of
climate change are currently observable and concludes that while recent
outbreaks of infectious disease seem to suggest an affirmative answer,
mortality and morbidity statistics indicate that the health effects of climate
change have yet to be felt. He states that the future impact of the health effects
of climate change will depend centrally on the social, political, and economic
approaches adopted today.
"Global Responsibilities: Ethics, Public Health, and Global Environmental Change,"
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies: Vol. 5
, Article 7.
Available at: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ijgls/vol5/iss1/7