Advocates Say Climate Change, Children's Health Issues Intertwine

Aug 23, 2019
Originally published on August 22, 2019 5:22 pm

A new report from the Ohio Environmental Council and Policy Matters Ohio says climate change has significant negative impacts on children's health, which they say highlights the urgency to reduce carbon emissions. 

The report lists climate issues that create potentially hazardous conditions for children, such as lower air quality due to increased heatwaves and torrential flooding that can increase water contamination.

The OEC's Heather Taylor-Miesle is calling on cities and businesses to take more steps in reducing carbon emissions. She says recent decisions by the Ohio legislature, such as to weaken mandates on reducing carbon emissions, shows that it's important to think beyond state leaders.

"It's affecting us and our children right now so we don't have time to wait for lazy leadership, it's time for us to be looking at this in a broad way," says Taylor-Miesle.

Gov. Mike DeWine's spokesperson says the governor is serious about reducing carbon emissions that's why he signed a bill that keeps Ohio's non-carbon emitting nuclear plants open through $150 million in annual subsidies.

"Governor DeWine has repeatedly said that we should be concerned about carbon output, and that if you are serious about carbon output, you have to have nuclear power in your generation portfolio as there is no current way to generate significant amounts of carbon-free energy without nuclear," says spokesperson Dan Tierney. "The governor also believes that Ohio should pursue an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy, that includes wind, solar, and nuclear, in addition to traditional energy sources which meet the energy demands of Ohioans and Ohio businesses."

Aparna Bole, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Ohio Clinicians for Climate Action, says the topic of climate change should be engrained in children's issues.

"We shouldn't be talking about infant mortality without talking about air quality, we shouldn't be talking about school readiness without talking about air quality. Extreme heat, air quality, those are issues that effect the health of Ohio's kids every single day," says Bole.

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