Physicians for Pasadena 100

Pasadena Physicians for 100% Carbon Free Power by 2030

To the Pasadena City Council,

On behalf of our patients and the community we serve, the physicians of Pasadena are urging you to implement policies that will counter climate change and the looming climate emergency. To quote over 200 medical and health journals: The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5°C above the preindustrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to human health that will be impossible to reverse. [1]

The American Medical Association (AMA) declared climate change a public health crisis, risking mental illness, physical injury, heat stroke, insect borne diseases and respiratory illness. [2] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), climate change is already impacting human health through air pollution, allergens and pollen, diseases carried by vectors, food- and water-borne disease, temperature extremes, and wildfires, and these health impacts are expected to increase. [3]

Heatwaves have become more frequent since the mid-1960s and are projected to become longer and more intense. As we write this letter the week of July 18th, 2022, large portions of the globe are experiencing unprecedented heatwaves, with record temperatures of 117°F in Portugal, 109°F in France, and over 104°F in the UK. We here know all too well how this oppressive heat feels. Such extreme temperatures lead to heat stress, the largest single cause of weather-related deaths in the US.

Climate change has contributed to changes in the frequency, duration, and geographic distribution of droughts, and increases the risk of wildfires. Lastly, disasters and the need to quickly evacuate can affect usual access to medications, medical services, and electricity which can be dangerous for those with chronic disorders who need these items to survive. [4]

This year will again bring record highs in greenhouse gas emissions because we lack policy to prevent it. With current policies, the world is on track to warm by at least 3°C above preindustrial levels by 2100. [1] The technology for the transition exists but has not been prioritized or used to its maximum potential.

This is where the Council’s job is of utmost importance. We desperately need policy prioritizing a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The single most effective action that we can take in Pasadena to fight the climate catastrophe is to stop buying and generating the fossil fuels that emit the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. We support the Pasadena 100 effort to have Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) commit to achieving 100% carbon free power generation by 2030. We also support policies to electrify all buildings in Pasadena.

The signatories below strongly encourage the City Council to implement policies that promote and enforce the switch to renewables. This is the only way to have a healthy, livable future. The physicians of Pasadena are calling on the Council to take the climate crisis seriously and show leadership commensurate with the threat. The faster the transition happens, the less damage to our citizens’ health.

Signed below are the doctors and their specialties.

Sincerely,
Your physicians:

This letter was written in July 2022 by Dr. Claire Smigiel a Pasadena allergist/immunologist and is circulating now for signatures.  As of August 1, we have 23 Pasadena physician signatories.  The letter is addressed to the Pasadena City Council.

References:

  1. Medical Journals Call Climate Change the ‘Greatest Threat to Global Public Health
  2. AMA Statement
  3. US public health response to climate change for allergists-immunologists. Gillespie, Elizabeth et al. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Volume 128, Issue 6, 626 – 628. 2022
  4. Building a comprehensive approach in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health to address the health effects of climate change. Schramm PJ, Cordero A et al. The Journal of Climate Change and Health. 2021