The city of Los Angeles, Calif., has joined the Center for Biological Diversity’s Clean Air Cities campaign, which the environmental organization launched to rally support for the Clean Air Act nationwide. The Center believes that the Clean Air Act is the nation’s greatest hope for mitigating the effects of climate change. However, big polluters and proponents of fossil fuel, including members of Congress, are trying to weaken the Clean Air Act and stop further environmental protections from being enforced under the law.
In expressing its support for the Clean Air Act, Los Angeles has joined 27 other United States cities in 16 states in stressing to national leaders the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues. As a major world leader and one of the world’s biggest polluters, the United States should take an active and visible role in fighting climate change and reducing its effects at home and around the world. To assume this leadership role, the United States must stand up for its citizens and protect its population, its environment, and its wildlife from climate change. National leaders, including Congress representatives, must fight to protect the Clean Air Act and add new provisions to the law that will strengthen protections for the environment.
Southern California public radio station KPCC News reported that Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz said, “Our city has been a leader in the fight against climate change, and we’re proud to back federal efforts to reduce global warming hazards.”
Rose Braz, director of the Clean Air Cities campaign, said, “L.A.’s leaders recognize that climate change will cause serious harm to California’s environment and public health, and they support a key solution in the Clean Air Act,” she said. “Cities around the country, from Seattle to Pittsburgh – and now Los Angeles – are sending an urgent message to our president and other national leaders: To avert a climate catastrophe, we need to act now.”
The Center for Biological Diversity says, “the Center is calling on volunteers from coast to coast to urge their local elected officials to pass resolutions in support of the EPA using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million — the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. So far, we’ve earned resolutions from 28 cities.”
President Nixon passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, and since then, it has prevented hundreds of thousands of premature deaths related to air pollution and has reduced air pollution from the country’s six largest polluters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that the Clean Air Act will prevent 230,000 premature deaths and save the national economy $2 trillion in the year 2020 alone. In the same year, the law will also prevent millions of missed school and work days due to respiratory pollution-related illnesses, and hundreds of thousands of cases of diseases such as bronchitis, heart disease, and asthma, as well as emergency room visits that accompany these illnesses. Because the law cost $65 billion to implement, its benefits greatly outweigh its initial investment costs.
In the past four decades, air quality in major U.S. cities has improved, but there is still room for improvement in the law. To encourage your city to pledge its support for the Clean Air Act and join the national fight against climate change, urge city leaders to obtain resources from the Center for Biological Diversity’s website. The Center has provided examples of a city resolution and other materials that civilians can send to cities to encourage local government officials to express support for the Clean Air Act.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/channone/2621081911