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 MurthyCan Scott Gottlieb reverse the opioid crisis? Blame a ‘loneliness epidemic’ for risks to nation’s well-being Surgeon general: ‘We are going to run out of funds’ for Zika MORE and Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Overnight Energy: Joshua Tree National Park lost M in fees due to shutdown | Dem senator, AGs back case against oil giants | Trump officials secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada Overnight Energy: Ethics panel clears Grijalva over settlement with staffer | DC aims to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2032 | Judges skeptical of challenge to Obama smog rule 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.”