By Julia Belluz
President Donald Trump is poised to make good on his campaign promise to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, which would delay much needed progress on fighting global warming and damage America’s image abroad.
Less appreciated is what the move could mean for human health — and the implications of delaying action on climate change are staggering.
Researchers have long been arguing that the effects of climate change could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and medicine, increasing the spread of deadly infections like yellow fever and the risk of chronic diseases like asthma and heart disease. So now is simply not the time to be scaling back efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The December 2015 agreement, which has been signed by nearly 200 countries, aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. (The US had committed to cutting its emissions by up to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.) These goals were widely viewed as a win for public health. Now, Trump’s retreat could be a major setback.
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