February 11, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Environmental Health Public Health
Climate change is one of the most serious public health challenges of our day. As part of its “Doctors for Climate Health” campaign, the American Lung Association (ALA) is asking physicians to remind policymakers that clean air saves lives and money.
Lethal air pollutants contribute to health emergencies that send people to hospitals and contribute to catastrophic climate change. Air pollution costs Californians $1 billion in asthma hospitalizations each year. Approximately 7,300 Californians die prematurely each year due to polluted air. At least 75 percent of pollution in the state is due to the use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
Cleaning up smog, soot and carbon pollution will have an immediate, positive impact on public health, particularly for those who suffer from chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease or diabetes, as well as save on health care costs. Physicians understand the critical need to educate the public and policymakers on the need to do more to protect our air, our climate and our health.
California continues to be a leader with strong climate policies, led by the state’s groundbreaking AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. However, continued support from the health and medical community is needed. Key AB 32 policies are already making a tremendous difference in improved health and economic well-being for Californians, with the benefits increasing every year.
The American Lung Association is asking physicians to call on California's elected officials and urge them to uphold California’s clean air laws by:
- Protecting AB 32 and California’s leadership in setting strong standards to improve air quality and transition California to a clean energy economy that protects health and safeguards our climate;
- Supporting California’s innovative and life-saving clean air programs including: Fuels Under the Cap, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Advanced Clean Cars, SB 375 Sustainable Communities planning efforts and other key clean air programs;
- Fighting efforts to weaken, delay or otherwise undermine California’s clean air and clean energy standards; and
- Supporting expansion of AB 32 programs to include strong mid-term (2030) and long-term (2050) targets to reduce climate pollution and accelerated state goals for petroleum reduction, renewable electricity and energy efficiency to help achieve these targets.
You can also sign up here to publicly join with leading health organizations and medical and health professionals in support of California’s life-saving clean air and clean energy policies.
For more information, visit the American Lung Association's Doctors for Climate Health page.
Click here to read an editorial about what physicians can do about pollution, written by Praveen Buddiga, M.D., who won the CMA Foundation’s Frank E. Staggers Sr. award in December.