Health Leaders Elevate their Voices on Climate Solutions
As climate change accelerates, and continues to impact human well-being on many levels, healthcare leaders are elevating their voices and efforts on climate solutions.
The U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, formed by several partners in ecoAmerica’s MomentUs initiative, seeks to amplify the voices of the health sector on the importance of climate change policy solutions. They have recently issued formal comments on the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan that underscore the health impacts from climate change, and ask for strengthened regulations.
The health case for climate solutions is very strong. And, health organizations can show leadership on this issue in a number of ways. It is this kind of leadership, as shown by U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, that will help build the public and political will necessary for solutions. We need new voices, messengers, and personally relevant reasons to inspire Americans and American policymakers to engage in and support solutions at scale.
To learn more about how the health sector is taking action on climate change, join like-minded health professionals and leaders at momentus.org.
As health professionals and health professionals-in-training dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the American people, we are alarmed by the serious health impacts and projected mortality from climate change: heat waves; loss of homes, jobs and infrastructure from extreme weather events; worsened allergies and asthma from higher pollen and ground level ozone; and rising levels of insect-borne diseases. We applaud the Obama administration and the EPA for drafting regulations to lower greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, which are our nation’s largest contribution to global warming. While we wholeheartedly support their intention, we are disappointed with the product. The proposed rule falls short of the rapid transition to clean energy that is necessary to prevent a catastrophic increase in global temperature.
The IPCC 5 Assessment Report makes it clear that to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees C, developed countries must lead the way with rapid emissions reductions, on the order of 50% by 2030 and 80-100% by 2050 (IPCC 2014). Numerous studies have documented the technologic and economic feasibility of the U.S. meeting this challenge (NREL 2012, Jacobson and Delucci 2009 & 2011) yet the Clean Power Plan would only decrease power sector emissions by15%. We can and must do better.
Image credit: Marlon J. Martin, used under CC