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Climate Change Is also a Health Crisis

When most people think about fossil-fuel emissions, they focus on the global warming caused by the greenhouse effect. But those same emissions are also pollutants that poison the air we breath and threaten the most vulnerable among us.

GENEVA – The climate crisis is also a health crisis. The same emissions that cause global warming are also largely responsible for polluting the air we breathe, causing heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and infections, and affecting every organ in our bodies. Air pollution is the new tobacco, causing as many deaths as cigarettes do. And though it threatens us all, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and adults with weakened immune systems are the most at risk.

It is now common knowledge that smoking tobacco severely harms you and those around you. That is why the tobacco industry’s lobbying and advertising campaigns have been strictly regulated around the world. Globally, we have taken steps to safeguard existing health policies, and to force these companies to tell the truth: that their product kills.

And yet, our reaction is very different when we learn that air pollution and fossil-fuel-driven climate change are just as deadly. Where are the policies to prevent the fossil-fuel industry from lobbying governments, or to end the $370 billion in subsidies lavished on coal, oil, and gas companies every year? Why are we still paying for a product that is killing us?

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