Medical groups denounce Trump’s withdrawal from climate agreement

President Donald Trump’s decision yesterday to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement is a bad one when it comes to the implications for human health, a number of medical groups said.

Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will walk away from the agreement on global warming was denounced by numerous physician and health groups. Here are some of the reactions:

Mona Sarfaty, M.D., the director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, a new group made up of 12 U.S. medical societies that represent more than half the physicians in the country, called it “the wrong choice that puts Americans at unnecessary risk.”

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and harms the health and well-being of some of the most vulnerable citizens—especially the elderly and children,” she said in a statement.

The American College of Physicians agreed. "The elderly, the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable," the group said in an announcement

"Climate change needs to be aggressively addressed on a global level, and the Paris accord is central to this effort," said the group’s president Jack Ende, M.D.

"Without U.S. leadership, achieving the voluntary targets agreed to by the 195 countries that signed the accord will be far more difficult. Today's decision therefore greatly increases the chances that the global effort to reduce carbon emissions will be insufficient to avert catastrophic consequences for human health,” he said.

The decision “puts President Trump on the wrong side of history,” said Harold P. Wimmer, national president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in a statement. Climate change is already harming the health of people through degraded air quality, heat waves, droughts, extreme storms, disease outbreaks and more, he said.

George Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association, said the decision is “a disaster of public health.”

"This administration has already taken significant steps to roll back progress we’ve made in addressing climate change. Today’s reckless decision is further abdication of leadership at the federal level to protect public health,” he said.

Not all health professionals, however, opposed the decision. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., said he applauded the president’s leadership. "The Paris agreement is a bad deal for the American people. Price said in a statement.

"At the Department of Health and Human Services, it is our mission to promote and protect the health and well-being of the American people. This includes an already existing, robust commitment to advancing public health security both here at home and through partnerships with other nations,” he said.