Yesterday, the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, made a bold claim. She claimed that climate change is one of the United States’ most serious public health threats. McCarthy made this statement during a speech to local energy and environmental leaders at an annual conference according to National Public Radio.
When most of us think about the dangers of climate change, we don’t think about it in terms of being a health threat – that is, unless you worry about drowning when the oceans begin to overtake the continents because of melting polar icecaps. However, EPA Head McCarthy painted climate change in a new light with her speech.
“What you have to realize is that one in 10 kids in the United States of America has asthma. Why am I mentioning asthma related to climate change? Because as the weather gets warmer, the smog will increase and there will be more kids in the hospital as a result of an asthma attack that’s been exacerbated by the change in temperature as a result of climate.”
McCarthy went on to say that the Obama Administration-guided EPA has put out a climate action plan to protect the most vulnerable citizens from carbon pollution. She said the plan works with states to target major polluters to reduce their carbon emissions, and McCarthy said their primary target would be power plants.
“It’s engaging stakeholders and industry to work together to actually achieve some significant reductions in carbon pollution, but to do it in a way that’s cost effective, that’s practical, that’s real, that’s implementable, and that really respects the unique circumstances of each state.”
However, some scientists claim that it’s too late to stop climate change. Some scientists made the case that the nations of the world have until 2015, or 2020 at the latest, to start radically reducing carbon emissions to avert disaster, according to Grist. The year 2015 is almost here, and too many people are still discussing whether or not global warming actually exists.
So, what happens next? Natural climate feedbacks take over combined with human-caused carbon emissions and by 2100 the planet will be hotter than it was in the time of the dinosaurs. It’s predicted that the southern United States will be transformed into an inhospitable desert.
A report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, said that the warming-induced melting of the Greenland ice sheet could create significant sea-level rise in this century.
IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri made a statement in 2007 – when the report was released – that is terrifying to read in 2014.
“If there’s no action by 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
That moment has passed. The human race has failed miserably in terms of solving the problem of climate change.
image via OC