At an event today at Howard University in Washington, D.C., President Obama warned of the public health risks assocaited with global warming.
"[T]he discussion really centered around the fact that climate change is having a impact on our public health," Obama said at today's event.
"We’ve got nurses. We’ve got deans of medical schools. We have residents and public health officials, primary care physicians and moms, most importantly. And what we know is that the temperature of the planet is rising. 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.
"We know that if there are more wildfires, a consequence of rising temperatures, that there are going to be more particulates in the air. We know that potentially it extends the allergy season, and can induce greater incidents of asthma or more severe incidents of asthma. We know that, potentially, as temperatures rise, that we’re going to start seeing insect-borne diseases that are not traditional to North America start moving up from the south.
"And so there are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home."
Obama referred to the national security risk of global warming, too. "The Pentagon has already said that climate change is a primary national security threat that we’re going to face, and we are working with the Department of Defense to start preparing for that and mitigating for that. And a lot of our international policy and national security policy is centered around the very real concerns that that’s going to raise," said Obama.
"But we also know that it’s going to have an impact on our public health. And through the efforts of these individuals and organizations around the country, I think we’re going to be able to start having an impact."