Medical groups warn climate change is a ‘health emergency’

WASHINGTON — As Democratic presidential hopefuls put together for his or her first 2020 major debate this week, 74 medical and public well being groups aligned on Monday to push for a collection of consensus commitments to fight climate change, bluntly outlined by the organizations as “a health emergency.”

The new climate change agenda launched by the groups, together with the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, comes amid early jostling amongst Democratic candidates over whose environmental platform is extra progressive. The well being organizations’ coverage suggestions, whereas a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s method, characterize a back-to-basics method for an inner Democratic climate debate that has thus far revolved across the liberal precepts of the Green New Deal .

“The health, safety and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change,” the medical and public well being groups wrote of their climate agenda, shared with The Associated Press prematurely of its launch.

Among different issues, the groups are urgent elected officers and presidential candidates to “meet and strengthen U.S. commitments” beneath the 2015 United Nations climate settlement from which Trump has vowed to withdraw. They’re additionally pushing for some type of carbon pricing, though with none reference to potential taxation of emissions, and “a plan and timeline for reduction of fossil fuel extraction in the U.S.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s climate change plan, launched earlier this month, tracks broadly with a number of of the medical and public well being groups’ priorities. While the groups name for a discount in petroleum and pure gasoline use in transportation, they don’t go so far as a number of of Biden’s rivals in supporting an outright ban on the oil and gasoline extraction approach often known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which includes injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemical compounds into rock.

Other groups signing onto the checklist of climate coverage priorities embody the American Lung Association, the American College of Physicians and a number of state-level and educational public well being organizations. That the agenda’s endorsing groups don’t function with “a political axe to grind” might assist them draw extra consideration to climate change, stated Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.

For voters who view climate change “primarily as a threat to things in the environment, like polar bears,” speaking concerning the subject as a well being drawback might reframe their pondering, Maibach stated.

“It’s incredibly helpful when health professionals point out the actual reality of the situation, point out that this is also a threat to our health and well-being now … and it’s likely to get worse, much worse, if we don’t take action to address it,” he stated.

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