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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to congress. Also on our rundown: more evidence that the rent is too, damn, high; Marathon County braces for sulfide mining; and the focus on recycling this weekend for Earth Day in North Dakota.

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Report Highlights Health Concerns from Climate Change

A new report outlines what climate change has in store for human health in the United States. (Greg Stotelmyer)
A new report outlines what climate change has in store for human health in the United States. (Greg Stotelmyer)
April 12, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A new report released by the White House outlines what climate change has in store for human health in the United States.

Drawing on research from eight federal agencies, the report said climate change already is a threat to public health. It projected future impacts including illness and premature deaths because of degraded air quality from rising temperatures, ozone and drought.

Curt Huber, executive director of the American Lung Association of Colorado, said he hopes the report will move policymakers to act sooner than later.

"This is not something way off in the distant future; it's already happening," he said. "You can't turn around climate change the way you turn a car around, so it's more like an ocean liner. All things being equal, it will be an increasing part of our lives with each succeeding year."

The report is part of an effort to highlight the urgency for the United States to make good on commitments made in Paris by implementing the Clean Power Plan. However, many political leaders in Kentucky have claimed the plan would increase electricity rates and devastate the state's economy. The state has requested a two-year extension for coming up with its own plan to meet Clean Power Plan limits by 2022.

The White House report painted a grim picture of a future without climate action: more severe hurricanes; heavy rains and flooding; and hotter and longer heat waves. Huber said it's proof that the impacts of climate change are not just environmental; they pose a serious threat to the health of communities already vulnerable including low-income families and people of color.

"The populations that are most affected certainly are the elderly, young children who still have developing lungs, and certainly children and adults with asthma," he said. "I think a lot of people are not aware that asthma can be fatal."

The report also found that climate change will have an increasing impact on mental health, ranging from symptoms of stress to clinical disorders such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts.

The report is online at health2016.globalchange.gov.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY