Rolling Stone discusses how the Climate Crisis Is Killing Us, and America’s Premier Public-Health Agency Doesn’t Care. The government spends more on Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago than on the CDC’s climate program.
A thought experiment: What if we lived in a world where the climate crisis directly threatened the lives of rich white guys? How different would the political debate be about cutting carbon and adapting to a superheated world?
These questions occurred to me the other day after reading an excellent new investigation into how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top federal public-health agency, has failed to address the public-health implications of climate change, doing virtually nothing to prevent the deaths of thousands of Americans from rising temperatures and other climate impacts.
The report, which was jointly produced by Columbia Journalism Investigates and the Center for Public Integrity, focuses on extreme heat, which has killed more than 10,000 Americans in the past decade or so — more than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters. And it’s going to get worse. A recent study published in Nature Climate Change found that by 2100, if carbon emissions continue to grow, 74 percent of the world’s population will be exposed to heat waves hot enough to kill. Extreme heat, a.k.a. “the silent killer,” kills people slowly, without fanfare, without media attention. You’re unlikely to ever see a viral video of a black man saying “I can’t breathe” as he slowly dies from heat stroke.