Opinion: Health Leaders Should Speak Out for Proposed Carbon Emission Regulation

Op-ed by Dr. Lisa Patel
Published in MedPage Today | May 23, 2023

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposed regulation to limit the release of carbon pollution from power plants, opening a period of time for the public to voice their opinion through the “public comment.” I believe the oath that healthcare providers take to care for patients obligates us to speak out enthusiastically in support of this standard to protect health.

As a pediatrician, I know that health professionals want to make sure that our patients, friends, family, and neighbors are healthy and thriving. As a field, health professionals have clearly moved to recognize that factors outside of healthcare — the social determinants of health — are major drivers of health outcomes, and increasingly climate change is recognized as a social determinant of health and one of the greatest threats to public health and safety. Its impact on our health is only growing in significance.

As the executive director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health — which represents 70% (700,000) of U.S. doctors represented by our 48 member societies — I know climate change threatens my patients’ health. More poor air quality days and heat waves mean more children in the emergency room from asthma and more expectant mothers in preterm labor, to name just a few examples of the health harms of climate change…READ FULL ARTICLE>


Lisa Patel, MD, MESc, is a pediatric hospitalist and the executive director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.