Biden opens new federal office for climate change, health and equity

WASHINGTON – In the middle deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that smoke from forest fires can contribute to premature births ,...


WASHINGTON – In the middle deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that smoke from forest fires can contribute to premature births, the Biden administration creates a new federal office to address the health consequences of climate change and their disproportionate effects on poor communities.

The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, which the administration announced on Monday, will be the first federal program aimed specifically at understanding how greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet come from the combustion of fossil fuels also affect human health. It will report to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

It’s an area medical experts have urged the government to take more seriously, and public health officials have said the new office is long overdue.

“The health of the American people is falling through the cracks because there has been no focused attention on climate risk,” said Aaron Bernstein, acting director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “This is the opportunity to plug this hole.”

In 2009, scientists warned in the medical journal The Lancet that global warming would hurt crop yields, cause tropical diseases to appear in new parts of the world and lead to water shortages. In 2020, the newspaper said these threats no longer belonged to the distant future.

“Climate change is fundamentally a threat to health,” said Gina McCarthy, national climate change adviser at the White House. She said part of the office’s mission would be to encourage doctors to talk to their patients about protecting themselves from things like heat waves, smoke from wildfires and other air pollution. .

In particular, experts said, more needs to be done to understand how extreme weather conditions affect older people as well as communities of color, where families are more likely to live in areas hardest hit by disasters.

“There’s a saying that if whites catch a cold, blacks get pneumonia,” said Beverly Malone, executive director of the National League for Nursing. “Health equity has a lot to do with where you live, and we understand the connection. “

President Biden has requested $ 3 million to fund the climate office next year, an amount that still requires congressional approval. Those who created the office were recruited by other agencies using existing funds. John Balbus, senior advisor to the director of the National Institutes of Health on climate change, will serve as the interim director.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden opens new federal office for climate change, health and equity
Biden opens new federal office for climate change, health and equity
Newsrust - US Top News
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