This letter is for sign-on by national, state, local and Tribal health, medical, nursing and healthcare organizations. It will be sent to all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to call for investments that improve public health by addressing air pollution and climate change.
Please fill out the form below and send an image of your organization’s logo to [email protected]. The deadline for sign-on is August 5, 2021.
Please contact [email protected] with any questions.
Dear Members of Congress,
As health organizations, we represent physicians, nurses, public health and health care professionals, patients and advocates all dedicated to promoting health and saving lives. Climate change is a health emergency. Addressing it by transitioning the nation to clean, renewable electricity and clean transportation will avoid the worst health impacts of climate change and achieve immediate improvements in air quality and health at the same time. Congress’ current work on legislation to invest in infrastructure and other priorities must yield a package of climate change measures that meet the urgency of this moment.
Air pollution and climate change are impacting the health of millions of Americans now, and those impacts will only get worse without action. Emissions from fossil fuel or other combustion-based operations are worsening air quality, which is especially harmful for children, seniors, pregnant people, people with respiratory illnesses and people who work or play outside. These same emissions are also driving climate change and with it, sweeping and dramatic health harms. More intense and frequent wildfires, strong storms and persistent extreme heat are already causing physical and mental harm.
As a result of numerous current and legacy racist policies and practices, people of color are disproportionately more likely to have multiple pre-existing health conditions, to face social disadvantages and environmental risks that make them more vulnerable to climate change. Communities of color are also three times more likely than white communities to live in areas experiencing the worst air pollution.1
Congress must seize this moment to make major investments in climate and health solutions. By cleaning up the nation’s electricity and transportation, you can not only slash greenhouse gas emissions but also improve health by cleaning up other dangerous air pollution. As you debate investments in infrastructure and consider the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, our organizations ask you to include the following:
- Invest in clean, non-combustion renewable energy. Set a clean electricity standard that achieves 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and drives a nationwide transition to pollution-free sources like wind, solar, geothermal and tidal. Put health and equity at the forefront by not including offset credits that would allow for increased pollution in communities already experiencing poor air quality.
- Include long-term clean energy tax incentives. Paired with a clean electricity standard, ten-year tax incentives for clean electricity, energy storage, transmission will help drive innovation and deployment of pollution-free energy.
- Rapidly transition to zero-emission vehicles, buses and ports. Include historic investments in electric vehicles and buses and the necessary charging infrastructure. Specifically, please include $40 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing, $40 billion over the next decade in charging infrastructure, and at least $20 billion to electrify the nation’s diesel school bus fleet to electric, pollution-free buses. Invest in mass transit and smart growth to reduce individual trips. As part of a transition to a pollution-free transportation sector, include investments to electrify the nation’s ports, which have some of the poorest air quality in the country.
- Commit to environmental justice by ensuring 40% of the benefits of investments in clean air go to frontline communities. Any efforts to reduce air and climate pollutants should not worsen existing inequities and should direct benefits to the communities that have been disproportionately burdened by air pollution and climate change.
Investing in infrastructure is an opportunity to protect health from climate change – particularly for underserved communities – that Congress and the nation can't afford to miss. The below organizations urge swift and bold investments towards a healthier future.
Page last updated: August 3, 2021