Opinion: To protect our health, tell the truth about the fossil fuel industry

Op-ed by Dr. Linda Rudolph
Published in Capitol Weekly | March 2, 2023

Climate change and fossil fuel pollution are two sides of the same health emergency. Air pollution from burning fossil fuels caused about 8 million deaths in 2018, nearly 1 in 5 deaths worldwide. And fossil fuel pollution is a primary driver of climate change, which threatens health in numerous ways – from chronic and infectious disease to deaths from extreme heat.

The fossil fuel industry wants you to forget all that.

In 2010, Koch Industries and big oil refiners spent many millions in an effort to suspend California’s landmark climate change law, AB 32.  Now they are at it again.

Just three days after Governor Newsom signed a law to create a safety buffer zone between new oil and gas wells and places that people live, work and play, oil companies filed a ballot measure to prevent implementation of those protections and have spent over $17 million to get the measure onto the 2024 ballot.

Meanwhile, industry is fueling a culture war to sow doubt about the evidence that gas stoves emit harmful pollutants that cause asthma and other diseases. A few years ago, SoCal Gas even funded a front group to oppose local ordinances favoring electric appliances in new buildings…READ FULL ARTICLE>


Dr. Rudolph is a policy consultant to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. She previously served as Deputy Director for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the California Department of Public Health, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at the Public Health Institute, and Health Officer for the City of Berkeley.