Biden should treat climate change as a health emergency

Op-ed published in The Hill | Feb 17, 2021
By Consortium Director Dr. Mona Sarfaty and Consortium Consultant Dr. Linda Rudolph

Since Inauguration Day, the Biden-Harris administration has quickly started to address a range of critical health threats facing our nation. While tackling immediate challenges like COVID-19, the administration has also moved quickly to address the climate crisis, economic recovery, and racial justice. As physicians, and climate and public health advocates, we are very encouraged by their approach because it demonstrates a clear understanding that the climate crisis is a health emergency and a critical health equity issue.

The evidence of this crisis keeps coming. New research released last week showed that more than 8 million people around the world die each year from breathing air pollution from burning fossil fuels. That air pollution is making us sicker today and driving climate change, which will cause worsening health unless we act. It also means that the administration’s early steps to switch to clean and safe renewable energy will immediately improve our health.