In response to today’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, the coalition of 44 national medical societies representing more than seventy percent of all U.S. doctors issued the following statement. This statement can be attributed to Dr. Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health.
“Today’s decision is an effective reversal of the 50-year-old Clean Air Act and it ignores past Supreme Court cases that affirmed the shared value that every person deserves to breathe clean air. The Supreme Court has delivered a blow to a proven tool we, as doctors and citizens, rely on to protect the health of our patients and communities. This decision seriously undercuts the work of our government to ensure that we have safe air to breathe, and a stable climate to anchor our lives.
“Climate change is a health emergency today in many communities and will be a health crisis tomorrow for even more people around the country and the world. The wide-ranging and dangerous health impacts will continue to worsen without widespread action to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The thing that gives doctors and health care workers hope is solutions like the EPA’s ability to protect us from harmful pollutants, because this helps us protect and improve health through cleaner air and address climate change in the long-run. Research has shown that the health benefits of the Clean Air Act are enormous. For every dollar spent on the Clean Air Act, we’ve saved $30 dollars in health costs.
“As we see wildfires burning in the West, scorching heat waves across the nation, and the associated rise in harmful air pollution from both dangers, we need actions by the federal government and all sectors that rise to meet the challenge. The Supreme Court decision today is tying EPA’s hands as our essential public health agency labors to build a safer, healthier country in the face of a changing climate. After this setback, the imperative is now stronger than ever – the Administration and Congress can reaffirm their commitment to public health and make major climate investments to counter the impacts of this ruling.”
Call on your elected officials to seize this critical moment for climate action here.