When President Obama revealed his Climate Action Plan on Tuesday, public health advocates concerned with the impact of global warming on human health were paying close attention. They hope the president’s plan will help reduce what they say are the changing climate’s adverse effects on child and adult asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and other air- and heat-related conditions, as well as water-borne and insect-borne diseases.
Following the president’s climate change speech at Georgetown University, leaders of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America met with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other national health leaders. AAFA President and CEO Bill McLin and board Chair Lynn Hanessian planned to stress the importance of environmental protection in protecting public health.
“Twenty-five million Americans, including over 7 million children, have asthma, and 50 million Americans have allergies,” McLin said in a release.
Those numbers are significantly higher than they were just a little over a decade ago. In 2001, about 20 million people in the U.S. had asthma. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of Americans with asthma rose by 25%, from about 1 in 14 people to 1 in 12. And although it is difficult for experts to pinpoint exactly why these rates have risen, it is widely agreed that increased air pollution and allergens worsen the symptoms for those with asthma and allergies.
Last night, Rep. Ed Markey became Senator Ed Markey as he won the special election to replace John Kerry as Massachusetts’ junior Senator. [Grist]
President Obama is beginning to address climate change as a health problem, not just an environmental one. [National Geographic]
Not only warmer temperatures, but also possibly melting sea ice in the Arctic is behind the massive flooding in Alberta. [Calgary Herald]
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) had one takeaway from Obama’s climate speech: the President has declared war on coal. [The Hill]
So just how will the president’s climate plan affect the coal industry? [National Geographic]
A federal study has found tar sands oil doesn’t pose a greater risk to pipelines than conventional oil, but doesn’t address the environmental and health risks of a spill. [InsideClimate News
The UK is likely to miss its carbon emissions targets in the 2020s, because emissions cuts aren't happening quickly enough. [Guardian]
Rising seas are about to swallow the island home of Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak. [The Telegraph]
Experts are saying poor local planning and a destructive approach to development have left Himalayan communities in India vulnerable to extreme flooding. [New Scientist]
Researchers recently got a glimpse of just how much trash is littering the sea floor. [Treehugger]
On Tuesday, LA became the biggest city in the country to ban plastic shopping bags. [AP]