Not just Climate. Trump’s exit from Paris agreement has important Health consequences

08.06.2017 - London UK - Silvia Swinden

This post is also available in: Spanish

Not just Climate. Trump’s exit from Paris agreement has important Health consequences
Two photos taken in the same location in Beijing in August 2005. The photograph on the left was taken after it had rained for two days. The right photograph shows smog covering Beijing in what would otherwise be a sunny day. (Image by Bobak, Wikimedia Commons)

Trump has announced that he is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, following through with a campaign promise to support the coal and oil sector.

The Paris Agreement, signed by 195 nations in December 2015, set the global goal to keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold that scientists say could keep the planet from launching into irreversible consequences like unpredictable super storms and crippling heat waves.

Not only members of the EU countries have rejected Trump’s offer to renegotiate the agreement, also in the US some states are themselves recoiling from the polluter-in-chief decision.

What is generally absent from these discussions, as we reported in Pressenza repeatedly, is the effect of burning fossil fuels on health, whether they change the climate more or less catastrophically, right now or a little later.

According to the WHO “in 2012, some 72% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease and strokes, while 14% of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute lower respiratory infections, and 14% of deaths were due to lung cancer…. A 2013 assessment by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that outdoor air pollution is carcinogenic to humans, with the particulate matter component of air pollution most closely associated with increased cancer incidence, especially cancer of the lung. An association also has been observed between outdoor air pollution and increase in cancer of the urinary tract/bladder. Ambient (outdoor air pollution) in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2012”

“The European Commission has told the UK to clean up its air. Levels of nitrogen dioxide – which is linked to heart and lung disease and contributes to the early deaths of 40,000 people a year in the UK – are particularly bad. We’re not the only ones with filthy air; the five most-developed countries in the EU (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) are all in breach of the recommended limits and have been given two months to take action.” The Guardian

“Between 350,000 and 500,000 Chinese die prematurely each year because of the country’s disastrous air pollution, says China’s former health minister” The Telegraph, as the West not only outsources industrial production to Asia, also the terrible effects of burning fossil fuels on health.

At a time when there is a ‘Spectacular’ drop in renewable energy costs… Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world despite investment in renewables falling” The Guardian  coupled with evidence that renewables benefit the economy and create more jobs, it becomes even more important to neutralise the toxic Trump approach to me-first politics.

Categories: Ecology and Environment, Health, International, Opinions
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