EPA Chief: Fighting Climate Change Could Prevent 69,000 Deaths From Pollution in 2100

Penny Starr | July 8, 2015 | 3:44pm EDT
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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, July 7, 2015.

(Photo: Penny Starr/CNSNews.com)


(CNSNew.com) – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said on Tuesday that if the United States leads a global battle against climate change, then 69,000 premature deaths would be prevented in the year 2100.

Commenting on the EPA’s forecast, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, “If we want to talk about pre-mature deaths, how about the 57 million innocent unborn children whose lives have been stolen since Roe v. Wade?”

A new report from the EPA, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action“shows the benefits of the United States taking action and global action on climate change, and the benefits are very dramatic; if the world acts now it will prevent up to 69,000 premature deaths in the U.S. in the year 2100 alone from poor air quality and extreme heat,” McCarthy said at an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C.

“And, of course, if we fail to act, the reverse is true -- in sectors from manufacturing to agriculture to fishing,” said McCarthy. “We’ll save billions of dollars if we act now. We will lose billions of dollars and human lives if we fail to act.”

The June 22, 2015 EPA report states that in the year 2100 as many as 57,000 premature deaths could be prevented from poor air quality.  The report also states that an additional 12,000 “fewer deaths” would occur in 2100 because of extreme heat.

“The number that McCarthy cited includes two health sectors that we analyzed for changes in premature mortality:  climate change impacts on air quality and climate change impacts on extreme temperature,” an EPA spokesperson told CNSNews.com.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.)  (AP) 


The 69,000 number cited by McCarthy comes from combining the estimated 57,000 premature deaths prevented and the 12,000 “fewer deaths.”

However, at least one expert disagrees with the premise made in the report that would lead to the predicted deaths from poor air quality and extreme heat.  

Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote an analysis of the report last week entitled, EPA’s Climate Action Flim-Flam Report.

In the EPA’s actual report, Lewis notes, a scenario is presented of what will happen if no action is taken to stop climate change, claiming that the global temperature will increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit between 2010 and 2100 and even higher in the United States, from 14 degrees Fahrenheit in the Mountain West to 12 degrees Fahrenheit in the northern regions.

“How reasonable is it, though, to suppose that average global temperatures in 2100 will be 9°F higher than they are today?” Lewis wrote. “Not very.”

“Over the past 36 years, the lower troposphere (roughly 0-25,000 feet) has warmed at a rate of 0.114°C/decade, according to the latest University of Alabama in Huntsville satellite temperature record. That translates into another 2.2ºF of warming by 2100, not 9ºF,” Lewis wrote.

“Things could change, of course,” Lewis wrote. “Nonetheless, there’s no empirical data to back up EPA’s assumption that the warming rate over the next 85 years will increase by 400%,” which would result in thousands of premature or avoidable deaths cited in the EPA report.

(AP photo.) 


The EPA’s report also defies scientific data on deaths from extreme heat, according to Lewis.

“Even if the planet were warming as fast as EPA imagines, the agency’s impact projections would still be dubious,” Lewis wrote. “For example, EPA estimates that in the ‘no action’ scenario, heat stress will kill an additional 12,000 Americans in 49 cities in 2100 (p. 26).

“But only about 2,000 U.S. residents die each year from all forms of extreme weather, with about 31% attributed to exposure to extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control,” Lewis wrote. “So currently about 620 annual U.S. deaths are heat-related, and U.S. heat-related mortality has been declining, decade-by-decade, since the 1960s, despite rising urban summer air temperatures.”

Lewis also sheds doubt on the predicted deaths from poor air quality cited in the EPA report.

“EPA claims global action would avoid approximately 13,000 premature U.S. deaths in 2050 and 57,000 in 2100 from poor air quality, the theory being that warming will increase ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution (p. 27),” Lewis wrote.

“However, it is far from clear that ozone and PM2.5 pose significant health risks at today’s historically low levels,” he said.

“Moreover, as EPA data show, U.S. air pollution emissions and concentrations keep declining despite global warming,” Lewis wrote.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing:  “Road to Paris: Examining the President’s International Climate Agenda and Implications for Domestic Environmental Policy.”

Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the committee, was asked by CNSNews.com about EPA Administrator McCarthy’s remarks about preventing premature deaths by fighting climate change.

“If we want to talk about pre-mature deaths, how about the 57 million innocent unborn children whose lives have been stolen since Roe v. Wade?” Inhofe said, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

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