Air quality, asthma and green stimulus plans
Climate, Health and Equity Newsletter

Air quality, asthma and green stimulus plans

Photo credit: Etienne Laurent/EPA

The Climate, Health & Equity Brief is GMMB’s take on the week’s news on the current impacts of climate change. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by clicking here.

Hot Topic: Protecting our air. Climate change degrades air quality and air pollution exacerbates climate change. It’s a vicious cycle, and low-income and minority communities suffer the worst impacts. Yet another study out this week exemplifies the disparity, finding that schools in Utah serving economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of color are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, thanks to long-standing segregation that has clustered minority communities in urban areas near industrial parks and busy roadways.

This week, three groups took steps to fight for cleaner air. Two separate coalitions made up of 23 states and a dozen environmental groups sued the Trump administration for rolling back fuel efficiency standards. Health workers from more than 200 organizations signed a letter urging leaders to prioritize a shift to renewable energy in stimulus packages to protect public health. And the EU unveiled an $826 billion package that prioritizes sustainable projects and a climate-friendly economic recovery from COVID-19.

This week we sat down with Paul Billings, national senior vice president of public policy for the American Lung Association, to discuss the impacts of climate change on air quality, disparities in minority communities and protecting the Clean Air Act. As he emphasized, every family has the right to clean air, and it will take strong leadership and action to protect the families in our most vulnerable communities.

Matt & Traci, GMMB

Health
Check out our interview with Paul Billings, national senior vice president of public policy at the American Lung Association, about the connection between climate change and worsening air quality. (GMMB)Tropical Storm Bertha brought flash flooding to Miami, Florida and South Carolina this week following unprecedented levels of rainfall, signaling a new normal for severe weather across the U.S. (Our Daily Planet)Record-breaking temperatures have engulfed the Arctic and northern Asia in an unprecedented heat wave, setting off wildfires in the region and driving levels of sea ice to their lowest point in history. (Earther)Equity
A new study found that residents of low-income neighborhoods in Southern California face greater vulnerability to extreme heat-related fatalities due to a lack of access to household air conditioning. (Los Angeles Times)

New research out of the University of Utah found that schools with more students of color experience disproportionately poor air quality due to their location near roadways and industrial activity. (OneZero)

Politics & Economy
The European Union has unveiled an $826 billion green stimulus package that will fund renewable renovations for homes, increase renewable energy capacity and boost clean vehicle sales, among other measures. (Reuters)

Bucking a trend among nearly all major Western oil and gas companies, ExxonMobil has refused to set a deadline for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, insisting that this is the job of consumers and governments rather than individual corporations. (The Washington Post)

A coalition of 23 states has sued the Trump administration over its rollbacks to fuel efficiency standards for automakers, citing increases to air pollution that put public health at risk. (The Hill)

A recent report revealed that nearly 400 EPA employees failed to report potential violations of the agency’s scientific integrity policy in 2018, with a majority citing scientific interference by managers and senior leaders. (The Hill)

Action
A federal judge in Montana has invalidated 440 oil and gas leases sold by the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management in favor of wildlife habitat conservation. (The Hill)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has validated lawsuits brought by eight California communities alleging that fossil fuel companies knowingly sold products harmful to the atmosphere and residents. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Health workers from more than 200 organizations have signed a letter to world leaders urging stimulus packages that prioritize a shift to renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions to protect public health. (The Guardian)

Kicker
Need a summer playlist? Check out this “Hot 10” list of songs about the climate.

“Fresh air impoverishes the doctor.

–    Danish proverb

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