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EPA Finds Global Warming a Threat to Public Health

Posted by Mae Stevens on April 18, 2009

On Friday, April 17, 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency proposed an endangerment finding regarding the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.  The finding, a requirement of the Clean Air Act recently upheld by the Supreme Court, makes it clear that greenhouse gas emissions must be regulated in order to control global warming and protect human health.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) has made protecting human health from the effects of climate change a top priority.  PSR believes the science is apparent and we must act quickly to prevent environmental threats that will endanger human life in the United States and already are doing so.  More intense heat waves, worsening air quality, pest and water borne diseases and extreme weather events present an immediate and ongoing threat to public health and welfare.  For this reason we encourage the EPA to move forward with its finding and act as soon as possible to regulate the six most prominent greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming.

Upon learning of the EPA’s finding, Dr. Michael McCally, a physician and senior scientist for PSR, noted that “the extreme heat events, spread of disease and worsening air pollution that is expected from global warming will impact everyone.  Today, the EPA has reinforced that finding and made it clear that the U.S. government must act to protect human health.” Dr. McCally is an expert in environmental health issues and testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2007 about the public health impacts of climate change. 

The EPA will be holding two public hearings on the finding next week. PSR executive director, Dr. Peter Wilk will be testifying at the hearing just outside of Washington, DC on Monday May 18, 2009 and Dr. Evan Kanter, president of PSR’s board of directors, will testify on Thursday, April 21, 2009 at the hearing in Seattle, WA. For copies of their testimony, click here.

PSR is calling on the Congress to pass comprehensive climate change legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately and steadily during the next 40 years to ensure that global warming does not cause catastrophic climate changes.

For the official EPA announcement in the Federal Register, click here

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