Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Why Doctors Are Backing Obama’s Climate Plan


Casey Williams
April 4, 2016

Doctors are backing the Obama administration’s effort to curb carbon emissions in order to slow climate change, which new evidence shows could seriously threaten Americans’ health.

In fact, climate change could cause 11,000 additional premature deaths in the U.S. by 2030, according to a new report from federal agencies.

Last week, several major American medical organizations filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s embattled Clean Power Plan.

The Plan, which several groups have challenged in court, would require the U.S. to slash carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030. It is Obama’s signature climate change proposal and a cornerstone of U.S. efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the acceptable warming level outlined by world leaders at December’s climate talks in Paris.


In their filing, medical organizations — including The American Thoracic Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association — sought to shine a spotlight on the negative health effects of climate change.

“We’ve seen our patients suffer and we recognize that something must be done about carbon pollution,” Mary Rice, vice-chair of the Environmental Health Policy Committee at the American Thoracic Society, told reporters in a conference call last week.

Climate change is linked to respiratory illness, allergies, diarrheal disease and cardiovascular disease — all of which disproportionately affect children, the elderly and other underserved populations, said medical professionals on the conference call.

More than 88 percent of the existing burden of disease attributed to climate change occurs in children under 5 years old,” Jennifer Lowry, chair of the Council on Environmental Health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, told reporters, citing a World Health Organization report.


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