Unchecked, climate change is expected to have perilous effects on Missouri, increasing heat related deaths, insect-borne diseases and presenting serious health threats to people with asthma and chronic respiratory problems.
All of that is in a new report from the National Resources Defense Council. Even the climate change naysayers should pay attention to this.
“People in the show-Me State are vulnerable to climate-related health threats from worsening air quality, extreme heat, extreme precipitation and flooding, and greater exposure to dangerous diseases. We must take action now to ensure a healthy climate for our children and grandchildren,” the report said.
The council backs the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants, which it called “the largest driver of climate change.” The council urges strong support for the EPA plan as “one of the biggest steps forward to tackle climate change and reduce associated health risks.”
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Doing nothing shouldn’t be an option. Even hard-core climate change deniers have to admit that our world is changing, and that’s not good.
The council’s report predicts oppressive summer heat as the norm.
“Nationally, heat extremes are projected to become more common, with summer highs that ranked among the hottest 5 percent in 1950-1979 rising to at least 70 percent of the time by 2035-2064,” the council reports. “In Missouri, under a scenario in which carbon pollution emissions keep increasing, the heat waves of 1980 and 2011 will seem uneventful compared to the year 2084. St. Louis County in 2011 experienced an abnormal high 69 days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit; by 2080, 93 such days are projected to occur.”
The report said to expect an additional 9,000 heat-related summertime deaths across St. Louis and Kansas City through the end of the century. Also, nearly 1 million people with asthma or chronic respiratory disease in Missouri will be vulnerable to the ozone smog.
“A Harvard analysis shows that the health benefits from reducing particles and smog could save 1,200 lives and prevent 310 hospitalizations in Missouri from 2020-2030, and at the same time reduce carbon pollution to limit longer-term climate change,” the report said.
Because of climate change, people should expect more pollen and worsened allergic symptoms with extended growing seasons. The incidence of West Nile virus and Lyme disease also are likely to increase.
More precipitation is expected to cause more flooding, sewer systems problems and drinking water contamination.