Source: Climate Change Viewed Through a Public Health Lens, YouTube. June 20, 2016.
Notes: Dr. Jonathan Patz, Director of the Global Health Institute, gave this quote during his presentation at the 2016 Citizens' Climate Lobby Conference in Washington, DC on June 20, 2016.
This talk focused on the negative human health impacts caused by climate change, primarily domestically within the U.S. but also internationally.
After focusing most of his talk of the serious threat of climate change on human health, Dr. Patz then spent the last 5 minutes stressing his optimism that acting on climate change saves lives and improves people's health.
“I want leave you with some good news. The risks of climate change are really dire, but the benefits from combating climate change could be even bigger.
In fact, fighting climate change could be free. If you look at the public health co-benefits from a low carbon economy, this can make climate change policy a net gain and a real win…
This is a study out of M.I.T. that showed a systems approach of looking at a clean energy system for the United States and the upfront costs of clean energy versus benefits of reducing PM2.5 air pollution.
Notice this is a quote out of the abstract that ‘the health benefits…can offset 26% to 1050% of the cost of US carbon policies.’
In other words, the health benefits could be up to 10 times greater than the costs of clean energy.
And when you go to your representatives and you start talking about the costs of getting to renewables…’Well, you know, there’s a study that shows maybe cost up to $30 to remove a ton of CO2 from the air.’
Nobody wants to pay more money for energy, right?
But, you have got to tell your representative: that’s less than half of the equation because if you remove a ton of CO2, you also remove all of the other nasty air pollutants that kill people.
And the average benefit of every ton of CO2 that you remove, you have $200 in health benefits from avoided mortality and hospitalizations. So, I want you to have this picture in your mind tomorrow and ask your representative a very tough question:
Which number is bigger?
Because everyone is just focusing on the costs of changing energy and they are forgetting about the important benefit to our health. And other places around the world, this benefit is much higher.”
Image Source: LAtimes.com (Associated Press)