People worry, governments neglect, and heat engulfs
Climate, Health and Equity Brief

People worry, governments neglect, and heat engulfs

The Climate, Health & Equity Brief is GMMB’s take on the latest news on the current impacts of climate change. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by clicking here.

Hot Topic: Cognitive dissonance. A new UN poll of 75,000 respondents in 77 countries found that 80% want their countries to ramp up climate action, and majorities in 62 of the 77 countries support a fast transition to clean sources of energy. Yet despite growing public agitation borne out in this and scores of other recent polls, this week’s news shows a disconnect between public sentiment and government action.

In New Zealand, the recently elected center-right government will lift the nation’s 2018 ban on offshore oil and gas exploration—a significant policy shift from the previous administration. The island nation will also exempt agribusiness from paying for its emissions beyond 2025 despite the industry being responsible for half of the greenhouse gases the country emits.

In Scotland, the government failed to meet the country’s ninth successive greenhouse gas reduction target, which has led the country to scrap its target of reducing emissions by 75% by 2030, saying that target was “out of reach.” In the EU, which passed several major Green Deal policies and has reduced emissions by nearly one-third from 1990 levels, notable far-right and nationalist party gains have shifted the body to the right, a result that observers agree will make it increasingly harder to pass new and more ambitious climate policies.

And in just one state example in the U.S., Arizona Republican lawmakers are advancing anti-climate adaptation bills that would prohibit cities from adopting climate and emission reduction plans despite a more than 1,000% increase in heat-related deaths in Phoenix in the last decade and a majority of Arizonans saying climate change is an “extremely serious” or “very serious” issue.

Meanwhile, countries around the world grapple with deadly heat, and much of the U.S. continues to experience its most prolonged heat wave in decades. This month alone, more than 3,000 local daytime and nighttime high-temperature records have been tied or broken in the U.S., with more than two months of summer still ahead. Unfortunately, the relentless heat offers us a glimpse into the future that awaits us if nations and states continue to abdicate responsibility to take meaningful action.

Programming note: The Brief team is taking a few weeks off. We look forward to bringing the latest climate developments back to your inbox on July 20.

Human Health

In India, more than 40,000 people have suffered from heat stroke and 110 have died during the country’s 3.5-month heatwave, with recent temperatures in New Delhi reaching 123.8℉. (AP News)

Death count disparities for increasingly deadly climate-driven disasters in the U.S. highlight the need for a standardized national database to accurately track fatalities and inform public health policies, as inconsistent data hampers response efforts and support for affected families. (NPR)

A growing body of research illustrates that extreme weather events—particularly heat and drought—make it harder for children to manage their emotions and can exacerbate mental illness, especially in those who already suffer from or are predisposed to it. (Inside Climate News)

Rising temperatures and seasonal shifts are fueling the emergence of new variants of the H5N1 avian flu virus, which poses an increased threat to public health. (The Conversation)

Planetary Health

Researchers have detected a significant dip in atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting and planet-warming HCFCs for the first time since nations agreed to begin phasing them out in 1992, demonstrating the power that global policies can have in protecting the planet. (The Washington Post)

A new study suggests that polar bears in Canada’s Hudson Bay may go extinct by the 2030s due to thinning ice, which is losing its ability to support the weight of their bodies as they hunt for food. (The New York Times)

A World Weather Attribution study found that this month’s heat waves affecting the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America were 35 times more likely and 2.5 degrees hotter because of fossil-fuel-driven climate change. (AP News)


A record heatwave with temperatures soaring past 122 degrees in parts of the Philippines last month resulted in thousands of cases of boils, rashes and skin disease among inmates in overpopulated jails across the country. (The Washington Post)

Politics & Economy

A new UN poll of 75,000 respondents in 77 countries found that 80% want their countries to ramp up climate action, and majorities in 62 of the 77 countries support a fast transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. (Aljazeera)

While much of the U.S. experiences its most prolonged heat wave in decades, estimates from the Texas Oil and Gas Association found that the state has produced a record-breaking 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day. (The Hill)

Despite a more than 1,000% increase in heat-related deaths in Phoenix in the last decade and increasing concern about climate change among Arizona residents, the state’s GOP continues to deny impacts and fight policies to mitigate climate change. (Capital & Main)

In the wake of the 2024 EU election, the rise of conservatism has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of Europe’s climate plan as the now right-leaning parliament will make it harder to pass new climate policies, placing net-zero targets in jeopardy. (Reuters)

The recently elected center-right government of New Zealand will exempt agribusiness—which accounts for about half the country’s greenhouse gas emissions—from the national emissions trading system and lift the nation’s 2018 ban on offshore oil and gas exploration. (Bloomberg)

Scotland missed another greenhouse gas reduction target, bringing their total to 9 missed annual benchmarks out of 13 (69%), with the country now planning to scrap all annual targets except their 2045 net-zero goal. (BBC)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to pause NYC’s congestion pricing program— which would charge drivers $15 for bringing their vehicles into lower Manhattan—has effectively curbed New York City’s goal to reduce transportation-related emissions. (Bloomberg)

According to new data from the Democrats on the Senate Joint Economic Committee, flooding has cost the U.S. economy an estimated $180 billion to $496 billion per year as warming climate increases the severity of floods. (Axios)


The White House has sworn in the first class of the American Climate Corps, which will eventually include 20,000 young people working in the clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience sectors. (NBC News)

The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding that their new contract address the growing impact of climate on the city’s more than 500 schools, with requests including solar panel installations, heat pumps, and a fleet of electric buses. (Grist)

The Biden Administration has begun developing a national strategy to combat food waste in landfills, which produces as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as dozens of coal-burning power plants. (New York Times)

Life as We Know It

Extreme weather is disrupting the production of some of the most beloved food items in the world, including wine, olive oil, coffee, and cocoa, driving up prices as farmers and manufacturers adapt to heat and heavier rain. (The Wall Street Journal)


Are you curious about where greenhouse emissions near you—or anywhere on the planet—are coming from? Explore Climate Trace, a searchable tool that shows emissions sources worldwide by using satellites and other remote sensing technologies.

Much of the right believes that the bigger threat is not climate change; it’s the actions taken by governments to decarbonize economies.”

– Mahir Yazar, Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation

The GMMB Climate, Health & Equity Brief would not be possible without the contributions of the larger GMMB team—Aaron Benavides, Stefana Hendronetto, Nikki Melamed, Sharde Olabanji and Marci Welford. Feedback on the Brief is welcome and encouraged and should be sent to