Whereas climate change is underway, causing 2015 to be the warmest year on record and 2014 the second warmest, and causing important consequences which are expected to worsen, including loss of biodiversity, changes in agriculture and food supply, extreme weather events, and rising oceans;
Whereas climate change is associated with many health problems, especially an estimated 200,000 deaths in the U.S. from air pollution, mostly from burning of fossil fuels (Caizzo et al, “MIT study”, Atmos Env 2013; 79:198), also future contributions from infectious diseases and other causes;
Whereas our AMA has many good policies pertaining to climate change, including:
H-135.934 EPA and Green House Gas Regulation, copied in 1st “Resolved”;
H-135.938 Global Climate Change and Human Health, copied in 2nd “Resolved”;
H-135.941 Air Pollution and Public Health, copied in 3rd “Resolved”;
H-135.949 Support of Clean Air and Reduction in Power Plant Emissions, copied in 4th “Resolved”, omitting mercury and sulfur dioxide (which may be important but do not directly pertain to climate change), substituting “state” for “federal” [legislation and regulations], “state’s” for “nation’s” [power plants], and omitting a recommendation for “substitution of natural gas in lieu of other carbon-based fossil fuels”;
Whereas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which would require states to reduce power plant CO2 emissions by 32% by 2030, was a major component of the United States’ Intended Nationally Determined Plan brought to the 2016 United Nations COP21 climate talks in Paris (http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/indc/Submission%20Pages/submissions.aspx), which would establish worldwide progress on climate change;
Whereas the EPA Clean Power Plan would have the effect of methodical phase-out of coal-fired power plants by 2030, leading to climate benefits, improved air quality, health benefits, less money leaving Michigan to purchase fossil fuels from out-of-state, and timely substitution of sustainable energy sources of the future;
Whereas AMA policy H-135.934 supports EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, providing a foundation for MSMS support of the EPA Clean Power Plan;
Whereas the EPA Clean Power Plan has been placed on hold by the Supreme Court of the United States by a 5-4 vote, though the plan has not been reviewed by any court;
Whereas the EPA Clean Power Plan is to be carried out at the state level, and if Michigan were to proceed with this plan at the state level, it could achieve these benefits regardless of the Supreme Court decision and any other court decisions (5th “Resolved”); therefore be it
RESOLVED: That MSMS supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to promulgate rules to regulate and control greenhouse gas emissions in the United States; and be it further
RESOLVED: That MSMS supports the following policy: Our MSMS:
1. Supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant. These climate changes will create conditions that affect public health, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and the poor.
2. Supports educating the medical community on the potential adverse public health effects of global climate change and incorporating the health implications of climate change into the spectrum of medical education, including topics such as population displacement, heat waves and drought, flooding, infectious and vector-borne diseases, and potable water supplies.
3. Recognizes the importance of physician involvement in policymaking at the state, national, and global level and supports efforts to search for novel, comprehensive, and economically sensitive approaches to mitigating climate change to protect the health of the public; and recognizes that whatever the etiology of global climate change, policymakers should work to reduce human contributions to such changes.
4. Encourages physicians to assist in educating patients and the public on environmentally sustainable practices, and to serve as role models for promoting environmental sustainability.
5. Encourages physicians to work with local and state health departments to strengthen the public health infrastructure to ensure that the global health effects of climate change can be anticipated and responded to more efficiently.
6. Supports epidemiological, translational, clinical and basic science research necessary for evidence-based global climate change policy decisions related to health care and treatment; and be it further
RESOLVED: That MSMS supports increased physician participation in regional and state decision-making regarding air pollution across the United States; and be it further
RESOLVED: That MSMS supports (1) state legislation and regulations that meaningfully reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide; and (2) efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions through the reduction of the burning of coal in the state’s power generating plants, efforts to improve the efficiency of power plants, and continued development of alternative renewable energy sources; and be it further
RESOLVED: That MSMS supports national enactment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the implementation of the Plan’s policies in Michigan.