Ignoring Americas doctors, Koch-backed Fred Upton calls public health threat of carbon pollution a ‘myth’

Top medical groups have repeatedly warn Americans of health risks posed by climate change. The medical journal Lancet’s Health Commission has warned: “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Brad Johnson takes on the GOP counterattack in this cross-post (with video). Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) today introduced legislation with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing Clean Air Act protections against global warming pollution, rejecting the counsel of America’s public health advocates. A boon to Koch Industries and the other polluters who supported his campaign, Upton’s legislation would nullify the EPA’s Supreme Court-mandated scientific finding that burning fossil fuels is damaging our climate system.

At a climate hearing on this week Upton justified his legislation by claiming the threat greenhouse gases pose to air quality and public health is a “myth”:

So let’s dispel a myth: air quality and public health will not be harmed or affected in any way by efforts to slow and then stop EPA’s expansive global warming agenda under the Clean Air Act. . . . . So we can stop the EPA from imposing cap and tax and the Clean Air Act will continue to make our families and communities healthier places. So let’s listen to the facts: this issue is not about air quality and public health, it’s about jobs.

Watch it:


By rejecting the clean energy economy, the only job Upton seems interested in saving is his own. Moreover, Upton’s denial of reality comes just days after the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association warned policymakers of the grave threat global warming poses to the health our families and communities. Based on scientific studies, experts agree that the following are key health risks from carbon pollution:

  • More than doubled asthma rates and lengthened asthma season
  • Threatened access to clean drinking water
  • Increases in airborne and insect borne illnesses
  • Increases in morbidity and mortality due to heat waves and other extreme weather
  • Increases in diarrheal, respiratory, and heart disease
  • Increased risk of salmonella spread as average temperatures rise

The health risks of climate pollution are particularly severe among low-income communities, children, and the elderly. With this attempt to rewrite the Clean Air Act, Upton is protecting polluter profits at the expense of his own constituents. And that’s no myth.

A statement from the American Lung Association:

The American Lung Association strongly opposes Chairman Fred Upton, Senator James Inhofe, and Representative Ed Whitfield’s bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority to update clean air standards. If passed by Congress, this legislation would interfere with EPA’s ability to implement the Clean Air Act; a law that prevent tens of thousands of adverse health effects caused by air pollution, including asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death each year.

Brad Johnson in a Wonk Room repost.

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