Global warming isn’t just affecting the weather, it’s harming Americans’ health, President Barack Obama said Tuesday as he announced steps government and businesses will take to better understand and deal with the problem.
Obama said hazards of the changing climate include wildfires sending more pollution into the air, allergy seasons growing longer and rising cases of insect-borne diseases.
“We’ve got to do better in protecting our vulnerable families,” Obama said, adding that, ultimately, all families are affected.
“You can’t cordon yourself off from air,” Obama said. Speaking at Howard University Medical School, he announced commitments from Google, Microsoft and others to help the nation’s health system prepare for a warmer, more erratic climate.
Warning of the perils to the planet has gotten the president only so far; polls consistently show the public is skeptical that the steps Obama has taken to curb pollution are worth the cost to the economy. So Obama is aiming to put a spotlight on ways that climate change will have real impacts on the body, like more asthma attacks, allergic reactions, heat-related deaths and injuries from extreme weather.
Obama said spending on health — such as preventing asthma — can save more money than it costs, as well as alleviate pain and suffering.