In an effort to convey the severity of climate change, the White House released a new report that highlights its potential negative impact on human health. Around 100 experts from eight different government agencies including NASA, the EPA, and NOAA contributed to the document. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns that the effects of shifting weather patterns could be an even tougher challenge to combat than the early 20th century polio epidemic.
The assessment illustrates how climate change could hit at-risk groups such as low income populations, children, pregnant women, and indigenous people. Based on the information, the White House projects climate change will trigger an increase of respiratory illness, a greater spread of Lyme disease, an added 11,000 deaths in the summer by 2030, and more contaminated sources of food and water, to name a few dangers.
While Polio affected thousands of lives, climate change is a more complex issue to address. For starters, there’s no vaccine for climate change. Murthy said, “There is not one single source that we can target. As far as history is concerned this is a new kind of threat that we are facing.”
In the assessment, the authors caution against viewing climate change as a hazy future threat, seeking to bring the issue into focus in the present as world governments prepare to officially sign the Paris agreement on April 22.
White House Science Adviser John Holdren told reporters, “Climate change is already underway and no matter what we do it can’t be stopped overnight. But there is a huge difference in magnitude of impacts if we fail to act and the much smaller magnitude we expect if we take aggressive action set out in the president’s climate action plan.”
In response to the assessment, the White House outlined extra measures they’d take to enhance efforts against climate change. Two focused on specifically preparing children through classroom materials and a task force dedicated to their health. The measures also included a Climate-Ready Tribes and Territories Initiative, as well as the designation of May 23-27 as Extreme Heat Week to work with communities on heat readiness.
Via The Guardian
Images via The White House on Facebook