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USA Today features PSR-NWF report on heat waves
August 25, 2009
PSR and the National Wildlife Federation today released More Extreme Heat Waves: Global Warming’s Wake Up Call, a new report describing the health dangers from extreme heat and identifying the 30 U.S. cities whose populations are most vulnerable.
The report received immediate press attention. PSR’s executive director, Dr. Peter Wilk, was quoted in USA Today and was interviewed by seven live news broadcasts across the country. PSR board members Dr. Cindy Parker and Dr. Don Mellman and PSR-Philadelphia executive director Patricia Harner participated in simultaneous press events in three of the “vulnerable” cities.
The report focused on heat waves, which increase the rates of potentially lethal heat stroke, asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, and many cardiovascular diseases. The number of heat waves is rising, due primarily to global warming produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
The report ranks 30 large U.S. cities, from New York to Houston to Los Angeles, where major risk factors associated with heat-related mortality make residents especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
Citing the dangers posed by global warming, Dr. Wilk underscored the need to enact strong climate and energy policy, based on four key elements:
- Strong, early cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
- Preserving the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.
- An end to dependence on coal for electrical generation.
- Preventing unlimited loan guarantees or additional subsidies for new nuclear reactors.
With the U.S. Senate set to debate climate and energy legislation in September, this is a critical time to get our voice heard. We encourage you to contact your senators.