Letter: Climate change and health

Recently, Governor Scott created some controversy when he said that global warming and climate change might be a boon to Vermont, perhaps meaning that in order to escape the effects of climate change, people would move here and help our economy. His off the cuff remark was of little consequence, and I am sure that he realizes that global warming will have an adverse effect on Vermonters as well as the rest of the planet.

Until recently, I had not been aware of the adverse consequences of global warming on population health in Vermont. In October, the Vermont Department of Health released a report entitled "Climate Change and Health in Vermont" for which you could search on your computer. It details the many risks that Vermonters face including extreme heat and weather. In addition, we can expect an increase in insect-borne diseases, poorer air quality, and more food-borne/water-borne pathogens.

Therefore, it makes sense to do everything that we can to mitigate the effects of global warming before the situation becomes catastrophic. Simply put, we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels and thereby reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are trapping heat on the earth's surface. There would be an advantage to increased taxation of petroleum products as this would encourage us to shift to renewable sources of energy. There would be incentive to improve energy efficiency in our homes and in the vehicles that we drive. Taxes are not always bad, particularly if the receipts go towards a social good from which everyone may benefit.

G. Richard Dundas, MD



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