Response of the Health Community to the announced Rollback of the ‘Clean Cars’ Standards

The mission of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health is to inform the public and policymakers about the health harms of climate change and the health benefits of climate solutions. The rollback of the clean car standards just finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency will add to the health harms of both air pollution and climate change. This rollback reduces the health benefits of modern efficient vehicles that produce less pollution. Evidence continues to get stronger that cleaner air is beneficial to our health and our economy. Every dollar spent on cleaner air is a benefit to personal and population health and generates a strong return on investment. The savings are long-lasting. We have learned that children exposed to pollutants have less lung capacity and get into more trouble from asthma. Over the past few months, we have learned that those with lung conditions are more vulnerable to outbreaks like the current COVID 19 pandemic.

Vehicle emissions are not only pollutants that threaten the developing lungs of children and increase our health risks, they are also one of the two leading sources of greenhouse gases that damage our life-sustaining atmosphere. The other source is the generation of electricity from fossil sources. It is clear that a nation that is concerned about health should be cleaning the air and protecting our atmosphere not backtracking on valid policy. It is clearer than ever that failure to heed the warnings of science can have catastrophic effects. Climate change is also a health emergency, although occurring over years instead of months like the current COVID 19 crisis. This vehicle emissions rollback will adversely affect pollution and our shared atmosphere. It places more people at immediate and long term risk and is a serious mistake.

Read the full statement Read an additional letter from the AAFP