June 1, 2017
MDH Commissioner statement on pending U.S. exit of Paris Climate Agreement
Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger issued the following statement today regarding the potential public health implications of President Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Much of the criticism directed at President Trump for deciding to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement has focused on the economic, environmental, and political impacts of the decision. However, we should not forget that climate change has significant public health implications as well.
Evidence shows rising temperatures increase air pollution, which exacerbates asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Rising temperatures and other impacts of climate change also increase diabetes rates, mental stress, and deaths from heat stroke. Climate change facilitates the spread of vector-borne diseases such as Zika and Lyme. It disrupts weather patterns and increases severe weather events that lead to flooding and drought. These weather events in turn disrupt economic and social networks essential for health.
Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges our world faces today. Like every other public health issue, addressing climate change requires collaborative and cooperative efforts from all parts of our society and our world. Pulling out of the climate accord is the opposite of what we need to be doing to protect and improve the health of everyone on our planet.