President Announces Climate Action Plan

DateJune 25, 2013

Statement from Matthew Marsom, Vice President, Public Health Policy & Advocacy

“The Public Health Institute welcomes President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Its emphasis on the threat that climate change poses to human health serves as a wake up call. Lives are at stake and we must act swiftly to turn the tide.

“Climate change has already caused illness, injury and death in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world: from Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina to this week’s wildfires and extreme heat waves, to  increases in food-, water- and vector-borne diseases such as salmonella, giardia, lyme disease and West Nile virus.

“By 2050 climate change is projected to impact millions of people globally, including increasing the number of malnourished children by as much as 24 million. Around the world, women and children suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, and poverty at home and abroad leaves people without the resources to adapt.

“Following the Plan’s recommendations would allow cities and regions to increase climate resilience by strengthening their infrastructure, developing climate action plans, and training health care and public health agencies to address climate change health impacts, and it would offer immediate co-benefits to health, such as by reducing air pollution. It also calls for the U.S. to engage globally on the issue of climate change—an important step as the U.S. is one of the world’s highest emitters of greenhouse gases.

“The President’s Plan lays out a clear path: now Congress must act. We need legislation that will reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities and a climate-ready public health infrastructure. Globally, we need the inclusion of health, gender and equity considerations in climate change negotiations.”