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"Climate change is a global public health emergency. There is no time to waste.": PHI Statement on Federal Climate Report

November 26, 2018

STATEMENT FROM Matthew Marsom, Vice President of Public Policy and Programs, PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE

"The just-released National Climate Assessment makes it clear that climate change threatens the health and well-being of the American people, and worsens health inequities—from extreme weather disasters, to air quality, to the transmission of disease through insects and pests, to food and water shortages. The Public Health Institute calls for immediate implementation of adaptation and mitigation policies to reduce the number of injuries, illnesses, and deaths from climate-related health outcomes. The U.S. must also make a significant reduction in carbon emissions and short-lived climate pollutants, or face rapid environmental changes that could overwhelm our capacity to adapt to them.

"The new federal report confirms that the U.S. is currently experiencing unprecedented heat, droughts, fires, storms and other impacts of climate change, and that if we do not make radical, sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, our warming planet will increasingly and fundamentally threaten our human health and safety, while causing incredible economic damage. The impacts will be felt worst and first by our most vulnerable: the very young and very old; low-income communities; and people of color communities.

"The good news is that we already have many of the tools we need to aggressively curb emissions and limit rising temperatures. With the renewable energy technology available today, we can dramatically change our energy systems to meet growing needs while also reducing climate and air pollution. We can transition to zero-carbon transportation systems and encourage active transportation. We can build resilient local food systems that help reduce emissions. We must resource, implement and support these tools now. There is no time to waste.

"The Public Health Institute and our Center for Climate Change and Health proudly stand alongside communities and global, federal, state and local partners across the country that are supporting immediate and transformational action to combat climate change and dramatically improve health. Climate change is a global public health emergency. It must be treated as such. Leaders in all sectors and at all levels of government must act now to reverse climate change and protect the health of our people and our nation."