Adaptation is necessary because climate change has gained considerable momentum. Deep cuts in emissions must be made rapidly to avoid warming of 2° above preindustrial levels but this is most unlikely, given present trends. It is possible that warming may in fact reach 4°C or more by 2100. Risks to health result principally from the effects of climate change on local food production, severity and frequency of storms and floods, threats to water supplies, and the direct effects of heat. The health sector has an important role protecting health in times of climate change. However, other sectors must be involved as well—steps taken in agriculture, urban planning, water and civil defence, for instance, will have implications for prevention of illness and injury. We offer a framework for planning adaptation, taking into account present climate-sensitive health problems, control options, and constraints. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 271–282 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.103

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