Climate change could put more in hospitals, says White House

Climate change is driving up the number of children who are living with asthma, according to a new White House report out Friday.

The report, which deals with the health impacts of global warming across the U.S., states that asthma rates have more than doubled, and says climate change is to blame.


It "is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital," the eight-page White House report states.

The White House said the answer to curbing drought, heat waves, and more severe droughts is cutting carbon pollution, the step President Obama took this week.

On Monday, Obama unveiled his most aggressive move yet on climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed rules mandating the nation's fleet of existing power plants cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

It's a proposal that has the industry and Republicans up in arms. They say the rules will kill energy jobs, hurt the economy and shutter coal plants.

Friday's White House report seeks to drown out opposition by turning to a new strategy. The administration is focusing more on public health benefits like preventing asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.

"Already, more than 8 percent of Americans are living with asthma, including more than 9 percent of children. In fact, asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalizations for children," the report states.

Increasing respiratory problems are more likely to put specific populations at risk, the White House states. That includes the elderly, kids, and people already suffering from allergies, asthma, and other illnesses.

The report touts the administration's efforts to rein in pollution, highlighting the health benefits of its latest proposal.

The EPA expects the new standards to prevent roughly 150,00 asthma attacks in the first year alone, but coal advocates aren't buying it.

"It is disappointing that the White House continues to perpetuate the non-existent linkage between EPA’s new carbon regulations and public health, exploiting legitimate and very serious health concerns for political gain," Laura Sheehan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity said in statement.

"Those suffering from asthma, heart attacks and other ailments deserve transparency and truth from their government; but they are instead being used as a red herring designed to distract consumers from the rising energy costs and threats to power reliability they will face."