Obama: ‘A lot more work to do’ on climate

President Obama called attention to the public health impact of climate change Tuesday and said the country has to do more to reverse it.

Obama participated in a roundtable discussion in Washington with administration officials such as Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyWe must act to address gun violence The Hill's Morning Report — Dem ire at Barr intensifies Bill and Chelsea Clinton announce podcast launch for summer MORE and Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Critics accuse Interior's top lawyer of misleading Congress | Boaty McBoatface makes key climate change discovery | Outrage over Trump's order to trim science advisory panels Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage Overnight Energy: Trump order to trim science panels sparks outrage | Greens ask watchdog to investigate Interior's records policies | EPA to allow use of pesticide harmful to bees MORE, as well as health and climate experts.


Following the roundtable, Obama said health is one of the many considerations to take into account in making the case for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that warm the globe.

“What we know is that the temperature of the planet is rising,” Obama said. “And we know that, in addition to the adverse impacts that may have when it comes to more frequent hurricanes, or more powerful storms, or increased flooding, we also know that it has an impact on public health.”

The Tuesday remarks came as part of a multi-pronged push by the White House to link climate change to public health.

While it is not a new argument, it provided for administration officials another major benefit for regulations that reduce greenhouse gases, like fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and carbon dioxide limits for power plants.

Those efforts lead White House press secretary Josh Earnest to declare Tuesday that Obama will go down as the “greenest president” ever.

Obama said climate change increases particulate matter, extends allergy seasons, exacerbates asthma and could bring insect-borne illnesses to North America that were not previously here.

“But we’ve got a lot more work to do if we’re going to deal with this problem in an effective way and make sure that our families and our kids are safe,” he said.

Murthy backed Obama’s remarks with more medical details. He said climate change increases smog and smoke, and that hotter weather can make heat stroke more likely.

The surgeon general noted his uncle died from an asthma attack, which he said makes the issue personal to him.

“As surgeon general, one of my larger messages to our country is that we all have a stake in health,” he said. “And as a result, we all have a responsibility to protect it.”