EPA Declares Greenhouse Gases A Threat To Public Health; Other Health Issues Addressed At Climate Conference
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Â on Monday “said greenhouse gases are a danger to public health and welfare in a decision that could eventually lead to new emissions regulations,” the Wall Street Journal reports (Ball/Forelle/Talley, 12/7).Â According to the Associated Press/ABC News, the declaration on the opening day of the U.N. Climate Change ConferenceÂ “signaled the [Obama] administration was prepared to push ahead for significant controls in the U.S. if Congress doesn’t act first on its own” (Herbert/Cappiello, 12/7).
In a statement, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said,Â “These long overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the U.S. government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform,” Xinhua reports (12/7).
In related news, the U.N. Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)Â at the conference warned that climate change couldÂ fosterÂ food insecurity, water shortages and other health threats and could increase the number of children who die of hunger, IRIN reports.Â More thanÂ “19 million children face hunger-related death at any given moment but only three percent of them receive treatment, the UNSCN said in a statementÂ [.pdf]Â … According to climate change projections, food production could shrink by as much as 50 percent by 2020 in some African countries, and by 30 percent in Central and South Asia, creating a very high risk of hunger,” the news service writes.
TheÂ committee is callingÂ for the establishment of a comprehensive nutrition surveillance system and other efforts to curb the threat (12/7).
VOA NewsÂ looks atÂ some African countries’ appeal for help from developed countriesÂ to adapt to the potentialÂ effects ofÂ climate change, whichÂ someÂ say is already affecting the health and welfare of people. “Climatic studies predict agricultural production in Sahelian countries could be cut in half by 2020,” according to the news service (Stearns, 12/7).Â