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Climate Change is a Danger to Our Health

13 Jun 2014  |   Hannah Blatt

Tags: Clean Air

Climate disruption is already affecting our daily lives by jeopardizing our health and devastating our communities all across the country. Thankfully, President Obama is tackling the problem head on. The core pillar of the President’s strategy is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently-announced Clean Power Plan, which will place commonsense limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. This is a critical step that will combat climate change, protect public health, and help preserve our planet for future generations. 

According to a report released by the White House last week, “Climate change, caused primarily by carbon pollution threatens the health and well-being of Americans in many ways, from increasing the risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses to changing the spread of certain vector-borne diseases.”

In response to this growing threat, the EPA is using its authority under the Clean Air Act to place the first-ever federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that new and existing power plants can spew into our air. This is the biggest step we’ve taken so far to combat climate change, as power plants are responsible for emitting 40 percent of the carbon pollution in our atmosphere. These limits are so commonsense that most Americans believe they’re already in place, just as we have safeguards for mercury, arsenic and lead. 

“Today’s EPA proposal does something unprecedented: guaranteeing lower levels of carbon emissions, which will reduce threats to public health. The proposal will cut carbon pollution, smog and soot, and in its first year will prevent up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks,” said the American Public Health Association

Every year the EPA standards will help save lives and prevent medical emergencies from happening. By 2025, these safeguards will prevent up to 130,000 asthma attacks and 2,800 heart attacks. And by 2030, we will see the benefits continue to rise, preventing up to 150,000 asthma attacks and 3,300 heart attacks while avoiding thousands of premature deaths, hospital visits, and hundreds of thousands of lost work days. In fact, from just smog and soot reductions alone, every dollar that is invested in the Clean Power Plan will result in $7 of health benefits for every American family.

President Obama and the EPA know we can no longer afford to ignore climate change, and these proposed standards are a huge step towards cleaner air and a healthier planet. Click here to join more than 72,000 LCV members who have already submitted comments supporting the EPA’s effort to protect public health and limit carbon pollution from power plants. 

(Photograph by arbyreed)

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