Health issues from climate change predicted to impact all Americans, says report.
The Obama administration released a new report making dire predictions about the health of the population if steps are not taken to curb climate change across the globe, according to an article in the Washington Post.
The report, more than 300 pages long and taking several years to complete, warns of major health problems associated with climate change, including predictions of premature deaths from worsening air quality and more deaths due to extreme temperatures during summer heat waves.
More than eight government agencies and scores of researchers worked on compiling the report, which reinforces the thinking that human health issues should be considered when making decisions about climate change issues, and the concerns over massive levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
But the new report points out many less obvious problems that can be experienced as a result of the pollution of the air and the warming of the planet. Also taking a toll on the public health could be issues like injuries, property damage, and deaths from extreme weather events, like more frequent hurricanes and floods, possibly from rising sea levels. Additionally, consistently increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air may also cause damage to the nutritional value of crops and food sources.
These type conditions will have an affect on the entire population, but the report says the greatest impact could be felt by those most vulnerable, including the poor, elderly, minorities, pregnant women, immigrants, and people with disabilities.
Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said this situation is not just about glaciers and polar bears, adding we need to understand the impact of climate change on the health of the public not only today, but for our future generations.
The study warns of greater urbanization of increased populations that will likely lead to more people being exposed to extreme heat, which already leads to the death of thousands of American citizens each year. The report adds the additional heat-related deaths would outpace any fewer cold-related loss of life.
Obama’s top science adviser John P. Holden, said there needs to be some significant global action on climate change, and continues, “We need to ramp up ambition over time to get deeper reductions if we’re to avoid the worst of the health care impacts that are described in this report.”
Obama himself, speaking in remarks at Howard University last April, said, “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home. So we’ve got to do better in protecting vulnerable Americans.”