June 23, 2016

Moyers: Climate Change, Fossil Fuels Are Hurting Our Kids

Children suffer the most from fossil-fuel burning.

Fossil-fuel combustion and associated air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the root cause of much of children’s ill health today, as well as their uncertain future. There are strong scientific arguments, as well persuasive economic ones, for reducing the world’s dependence on energy generated by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, diesel and gasoline.

These include the 7 million adult deaths per year attributed to ambient air pollution, most of it from fossil-fuel burning. Less recognized is the huge and largely silent toll on children’s health and development from both air toxics and climate change.

Children, whose bodies and brains are especially vulnerable to harm as they develop in utero and in the first years of life, bear a disproportionate burden of disease from both air pollution and climate change. Exposure to toxic air pollutants released during fossil-fuel combustion contributes to low birth weight, cognitive and behavioral disorders, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Climate change is linked to increases in heat-related disease, malnutrition, infectious disease, physical trauma, mental health issues and respiratory illnesses.

 

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