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EPA Climate Change Report: Higher Rates of Death and Disease for FL

July 18, 2008

Miami, FL – More people will die, more people will be sick, and more property will be damaged in Florida - all due to climate change, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its analysis of the impacts of climate change on people across the country indicates the Gulf Coast region should expect to see some of the more dramatic effects of rising temperatures.

Dr. George Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, says the entire Gulf Coast is particularly vulnerable to the health-related consequences.

"When we have these extreme weather events, it gets very hot and puts people at risk. We have these violent storms, and that puts people at risk, as well."

The report stops short of making any recommendations for slowing climate change, such as dramatically cutting greenhouse gases. While the report is full of what Benjamin calls "bad news," the good news is that everyday Floridians can take action by driving less and using less electricity, whenever possible.

"They see movies that proclaim doom, and they say, 'Well, if it's going to be that bad, there's nothing I can do about it.' The message we like to deliver is that there is something you can do about it. Every little bit helps."

The report also assesses how coastal erosion damages property and freshwater resources. The report is one of several being issued by federal agencies to analyze the effects of climate change, although some believe it is entirely natural and cannot be affected by human actions. Congress will now review the report.

Report excerpts may be read online at The full report, "Analyses of the Effects of Global Climate Change on Human Health, Settlements and Welfare," is also online, at

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - FL