The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) recently announced an ambitious draft proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 12 states, including Connecticut, and the District of Columbia. While much discussion is centered on the environmental impacts, it’s vital that the public health benefits of reducing emissions also be addressed and emphasized during the public comment period.
The preliminary results announced by TCI illustrate that reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector through an ambitious, collective multi-state effort can have major public health benefits. The American Lung Association supports this approach as well as the commitment to ensure our most polluted and vulnerable communities experience improved health through strong, directed investments that support clean air locally and a stable climate for future generations.
Climate change, and its impact on air pollution, is deeply connected to lung health and a person’s ability to breath. Climate change drives rising temperatures and alters weather patterns that increase ozone and particle pollution, as well as increases allergens and extreme weather events like wildfires and hurricanes. These changes can worsen the health of millions of Connecticut residents, increasing asthma attacks, short term respiratory illnesses, lung disease and even premature death. For these reasons, the Lung Association has a history of supporting initiatives that mitigate the impacts of or slowing climate change, as the TCI proposal stands to do.
We applaud the Transportation and Climate Initiative for their work and look forward to learning more throughout the public comment period. We urge Connecticut residents and people in all 12 states and Washington D.C. to weigh in and support these steps for public health. (Public comments can be submitted at transportationandclimate.org.)
Ruth Canovi is the Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut.