High risk US policy on climate change

Doctors must respond to protect human health against an unprecedented challenge

The current federal political climate in the United States bodes ill for the future of the world’s climate, and by extension for the health of people around the world. Clinicians have a special capacity to respond because of our positions at the nexus of the science of research and the art of patient care.

The executive order on environmental policy issued by the White House on 28 March 2017 starts a process of rescinding, revising, and reviewing regulatory decisions and authorities of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—specifically those that were directed at the oil and gas industries and intended to tackle climate change.1The most important policy changes initiate reviews of the Clean Power Plan and the regulations on methane and other volatile organic compounds, both introduced by the Obama administration. The Clean Power Plan requires electricity generating plants in the US to reduce carbon dioxide output by 32% by 2030, while the methane regulation …

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