California Health and Medical Professionals Join National Call for Bold Action on Climate Change
(September 21, 2016) - Sacramento, CA
California has lead the way with historic climate change legislation this year that will improve air quality and lung health. Just this week, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation to curb super pollutants like wood smoke and diesel emissions in California. So today, local health and medical professionals from California joined others from across the country to issue A Health Professionals’ Declaration on Climate Change, calling for swift and comprehensive action on climate change nationwide to protect public health. “We, as public health and medical professionals, reiterate our commitment to address climate change on behalf of our patients and communities… The wide-ranging health impacts of climate change demand immediate action,” the Declaration states.
In California, 200 health and medical experts including doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists have added their names to the Declaration to recognize the threat that climate change poses to everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable, such as children, older adults, and those with chronic diseases like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“California has taken groundbreaking steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and super pollutants like wood smoke and diesel exhaust,” said Dr. Bruce Bekkar, an advocate with the American Lung Association in California and Doctors for Climate Health. “These policies will lead to cleaner air and improved health for millions of Californians especially those living in low income communities. Now we must work to extend these policies across the country to protect all Americans as well as future generations.”
Climate change increases the risk of the formation of harmful ozone pollution, and contributes to droughts and wildfires that make unhealthy levels of particle pollution more likely. Ozone and particulate air pollution can cause asthma attacks, cardiovascular problems and even premature deaths.
Growing scientific evidence, including the Climate and Health Assessment released earlier this year by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, warns that inaction on climate change will only contribute further to rising temperatures, heavy rain and drought, and other severe weather events. There is also the potential for areas previously unaffected by climate change to see new or worsening impacts and health threats.
As the Declaration states, bold action is needed to clean up sources of carbon pollution, methane, and other greenhouse gases to reduce the threat this pollution poses to public health. The health and medical community is seeing this firsthand through increasing examples of climate-related health issues in their patients. As they tell the nation through this Declaration, waiting to act will have dangerous consequences on the health of California families.