Health Care Climate Council Supports EPA Clean Power Plan

The Health Care Climate Council, representing hospitals across the United States that are committed to addressing the health impacts of climate change, supports the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA plan sets the first-ever federal limits on dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants, cuts the single largest source of the carbon pollution, and safeguards public health from the harmful effects of carbon pollution.

As global temperatures climb and the threat climate change poses to our families and natural environment grows, power plants continue to be one of the largest unregulated polluters of greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposes the first-ever national standards to limit climate-changing pollution.

Actions that reduce emissions—like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—can help the world avert serious problems that cost communities nationwide. Carbon pollution from dirty power plants causes up to 6,600 premature deaths each year. The proposed Clean Power Plan will cut hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of thousands of tons of harmful particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Together these reductions will provide important health protections to communities disproportionately impacted by dirty air and water.

Communities across the United States are already experiencing the health impacts of climate change, with the elderly, children, and people suffering from burdensome illnesses at greater risk. Left unchecked, we will see:

  • Continued upward spiral of asthma and respiratory disease; 
  • Greater likelihood of injury, disease, and death due to more intense heat waves and fires;
  • Increased likelihood of under-nutrition resulting from diminished food production in poor regions;
  • Risks from lost work capacity and reduced labor productivity in vulnerable populations; and
  • Increased risks from food- and water-borne diseases and vector-borne diseases.

 “Coal-fired power plants are dangerous to the health of Americans and are also a major driver of climate change. The EPA’s proposed rules are critical steps to finally rein in the pollution from these dirty energy sources”, stated Gary Cohen, President and co-founder, Health Care Without Harm.

The EPA projects its Clean Power Plan will: 

  • Cut carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2030 (below 2005 levels), providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits;
  • Prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work and school days in 2030;
  • Prevent 3,300 heart attacks, and up to 2,800 hospital admissions; and
  • Help protect low-income communities, as well as children, and seniors who are disproportionally affected by climate change.

(Note: The above projections can be found on the EPA’s fact sheet, Overview of the Clean Power Plan)

The Clean Power Plan is the most important step we can take to address climate change and the carbon pollution that fuels it. The Clean Power plan mirrors the commitment the US has already made as part of the Paris climate negotiations scheduled for this December. Cleaning up carbon pollution protects health and every state in the country will see benefits due to reduced emissions.

Cleaner energy will not only reduce carbon emissions, but will additionally reduce soot and other emissions that also have significant health ramifications. Emphasizing the authority of the public health voice will be crucial, especially as the Clean Power Plan will require states to develop plans for meeting carbon emissions reduction targets. We urge the EPA to continue to work with health partners across the country to support the strongest limits on carbon pollution in order to protect our children, our health, and our future.


About the Health Care Climate Council

Established by Health Care Without Harm, the Health Care Climate Council is a leadership network of hospitals committed to strengthening the health sector’s response to climate change.