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Medical Groups Warn Of Climate Change's Potential Impact on Health
Date:2/25/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Experts from leading U.S. medical groups gathered Thursday to warn of impending dangers to human health if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, speeding climate change.

They believe the federal government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency, does have the power to curtail such emissions, however.

"The science is unequivocal that global warming is occurring and human activity is the cause of it," Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association said during a press conference Thursday. "We believe the EPA has the potential to significantly reduce the public health burden of climate change and we are committed to protecting the agency's authority over the full breath of its work."

APHA and other groups worry that if Congress restricts the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, health problems will rise.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget that would cut the EPA's budget by a third, the experts noted. Moreover, a funding resolution passed by the new Republican house would block the agency from enacting a new greenhouse emissions rule, according to speakers at the Thursday press conference.

Not everyone agreed with those experts, however.

Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank focused on free-market approaches to public policy. In an interview, he said the effects of climate change on human health remain in question, as does the wisdom of earmarking EPA funds to fight global warming.

"I don't know if the world is going to be warmer 100 years from now than it is today, but if it is, there are likely to be less deaths from a variety of illnesses overall than more deaths from cardiopulmonary diseases due to the warmth," B
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