Schwarzenegger emphasizes health benefits of reducing CO2 emissions
Lame duck Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is at UC Davis today, leading the third annual Governors' Global Climate Summit. The Republican is pushing for state and regional governments to act to limit greenhouse gases to fill the national and international leadership void on the issue.
As the Governator put it, "There are people who may not believe in global warming, but everyone, regardless of party, wants their kids to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Let's not get stuck on one thing we disagree on, rather let's talk about what we do agree on."
Indeed, in his weekly radio address just after the November 2 election rewarded his — and PHI's and many other health and environmental groups' — opposition to Prop 23, Schwarzenegger put the health problems associated with fossil fuel pollution, specifically asthma, front and center.
But asthma isn't the only health problem that will spike if we continue to burn fossil fuels unabated. Unfamiliar patters of rain and drought will affect water availability and quality the world over; floods will incubate disease and disease-carrying mosquitos; and food supplies will be endangered. Extreme heat will target the weaker and poorer among us.
Linda Adams, California Environmental Protection Agency secretary, is also participating in the Davis seminar, and she noted that these problems are already at hand right here in California. The Wall Street Journal paraphrased her:
California continues to experience the effects of climate change such as extremely hot days, which hurt public health and agriculture; rising sea levels, which affect tourism and other coastal industries; and reduced snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which affects drinking water supplies.
Sadly, though, even green gov Schwarzenegger isn't pushing for health reforms to address these problems, which are already on the way, regardless of what we may do to reduce emissions ... tomorrow.