Statement on Clean Energy and Health

August 3, 2015

The Clean Power Plan rule, announced today by the White House, is a much-needed first effort to reduce emissions of carbon pollution in the United States. Carbon pollution is the main driver of the rapid changes in climate that we have been experiencing in recent decades, and which, if left uncontrolled, could lead to devastating future changes in patterns of temperature and precipitation in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Under the direction of Patrick Kinney, ScD, professor of Environmental Health Sciences, research carried out by the Mailman School’s Climate and Health Program has demonstrated how climate change leads to adverse public health impacts through worsening air quality, extreme heat waves, changing patterns of mosquito-borne diseases, and other pathways.  As a result, it is estimated that the rule will save as many as 3,600 premature deaths among adults and 90,000 asthma attacks in children, with benefits outweighing costs by a wide margin.
“This is a policy based on years of scientific evidence not just of the environmental impacts of carbon pollution, but also of its significant public health impacts,” said Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, Dean and DeLamar Professor at the Mailman School. “Implementation of the Clean Power Plan rule is an important step forward in protecting the public’s health.”