Climate and Health in California: Challenges and Next Steps for the Golden State 

California has long been a leader in tackling climate change.  However, as recent events have shown, despite its progressive climate policies, the Golden State is still very vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

One key effect of climate change is its impact on health.  From degraded air and water quality, to the mental health impact of climate emergencies like wildfires, to health complications from increased heat, to increases in vector-borne diseases like Lyme Disease, California is facing myriad health impacts that will challenge health systems and affect public and private payers.

KFF, in partnership with The Washington Post, recently conducted a national survey of adults and teens on climate change which showed high levels of public concern. On November 21st KFF held an event to explore the public’s concerns about climate change and the impact climate change is having on Californians’ health and the health system.  KFF will presented highlights from the partnership poll on climate change including responses among California residents and those living in other Western states.

While the state has been aggressive in reducing its carbon footprint through a cap-and-trade program, more commitment to renewable energy and stricter vehicle emission standards, it faces challenges not only from volatile climate conditions, but also conflicting policy priorities from the federal government.

Mollyann Brodie, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, KFF provided opening remarks followed by a lively discussion with featured speakers:

  • Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Senior Correspondent for California Healthline, KHN (moderator)
  • Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Climate, State of California
  • Liz Hamel, Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research, KFF
  • Kevin D. Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer, Central California Asthma Collaborative
  • Steven Mufson, Climate Change and Business Reporter, The Washington Post


Event Date

Nov 21, 2019

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.