As nurses concerned about the health of our patients, families, and communities, we are deeply alarmed about the Trump Administration’s executive order that would weaken the Clean Power Plan and other initiatives in place to protect against the threats posed by climate change. Rolling back measures would not only cause harm to our air, land, and water, but is a direct attack on human health.
Under the executive order federal enforcement of the Clean Power Plan, a regulation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants which generate almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, would be weakened. Elimination of this health protective measure would risk lives and contribute to rising health care costs. The Clean Power Plan alone when fully implemented would have an estimated health savings of $14 to $34 billion and would avoid a projected 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths, 90, 000 asthma attacks in children, up to 1,700 heart attacks, 1,700 hospital admissions, and 300, 000 missed school and work days a year.
Taking weak action to address climate change, which this executive order aims to do, would only accelerate greenhouse gas emissions, reinforce dependency on the fossil fuel industry, and set our country backwards in responding to the climate crisis. Health effects expected and already occurring as a result of climate change, include increased rates of new cases of asthma and asthma exacerbations, premature deaths related to air pollution, and increases in vector-borne disease transmission. Our country cannot risk weak action on climate change.
As health professionals, it is our moral imperative that we stand together to fight against attacks that prioritize industry over human health. The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments will continue to oppose efforts to weaken the Clean Power Plan and climate action. We are calling on nurses to demand action and leadership from the Trump Administration that protect health. We also encourage nurses to contact your members of Congress to voice your disapproval and to call on legislators to prioritize health.