Statement on the United States’ Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target

On April 22, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden unveiled the United States’ revised target of a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 Levels by 2030, serving as the centerpiece of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that the U.S. will submit to the UN later this year.

The statement below can be attributed to Dr. Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, a coalition of 33 medical societies representing more than half of all U.S. doctors:

“I join doctors and nurses across the country in applauding President Biden for the pledge to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 50% by 2030. This commitment not only benefits our environment and planet, but the health of everyone living in the United States. We know that taking steps to avert the worst of climate change is going to improve our health both in the long-term and immediately.

“This pledge demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to our health and future. As doctors and health professionals, we have waited for this aggressive commitment because we see the ways climate change harms our patients, from asthma to heat-related illness to injuries from dangerous weather events to worsening chronic conditions. This ambitious goal will mean opportunity for improved health of our people and our planet.

“Addressing climate change and improving health are one in the same. Climate solutions that decrease greenhouse gases, such as the rapid acceleration of changes to our energy, transportation, agriculture, buildings and community design, represent an historic opportunity to create a new ‘health-supporting infrastructure’ that will immediately and sustainably improve people’s health. In addition, this commitment will increase employment, and we know that good jobs support good health.

“We are encouraged by the Administration’s efforts to center equity in the first 100 days, and we encourage them to continue this focus as the pledge is implemented. That’s how we can ensure we don’t leave behind people because of their race, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, income or geography.

“We cannot have a healthy future without addressing the climate emergency. The United States’ goal shows our commitment and leadership, and we must continue to do our fair share. Our health depends on it.”