Months after President Joe Biden signed his climate law into law – his potentially $1 trillion misnamed inflation-reducing law – Americans are cooling global warming.
So Democrats are trying to fuel climate alarmism by implying that it’s not only a threat to the planet, but also to public health.
Some even want to include it in the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In February, voters ranked climate change 17th out of 21 issues.
A recent poll found just 37% say climate change should be Biden’s top priority.
Almost half say they will never buy an electric vehicle.
New York now intends to follow California in banning gas stoves and gas ovens in all new homes.
Consumer cooking preferences are uninteresting to regulatory “experts” who increasingly control the smallest details of our lives.
Facing dwindling public interest, Democrats are turning to making climate change a public health issue.
Just last week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on diagnosing the health care costs of climate change.
A not-so-hidden goal of the hearing: getting the CDC to take on the issue.
But it actually could Damage the government’s ability to protect us from actual health threats we face today.
The public health authorities are already too thin on the ground due to their ever-growing mandates.
As we have learned during COVID, when these agencies spend their time solving social problems, they are unable to combat real communicable disease threats.
In fact, trying to stop biological pathogens is difficult, if not impossible, when you’re also trying to reverse the “epidemics” of gun violence, loneliness, road deaths, and so on.
In the past, public health encompassed “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health.”
This was the nation’s vision in 1946 when it established the CDC as the primary federal agency responsible for controlling communicable diseases.
And despite the success of antibiotics and breakthrough vaccines, the job of stopping diseases that can threaten widespread death is never-ending.
Yet only about 8% of CDC personnel are tasked with detecting and controlling communicable threats.
Even after failing to contain COVID, the CDC initiated two initiatives to promote “social health determinants” and “health equity,” which are unlikely to make Americans less vulnerable to disease or healthier.
Forcing climate change under the umbrella of the CDC would only further burden the agency and make it harder to fight disease.
The fact is that the agency is already plagued by “mission creep”.
Precisely because the agency is so focused on so many different social issues, it has failed to adequately prevent, control, or contain COVID-19 despite having a $12 billion budget before the pandemic.
Even if global warming is a clear and present threat to the health of the American people, there is little chance that the CDC could combat it effectively.
The agency’s managerial focus is already so diffuse that there’s little chance it could pick up another topic, especially when the correlation between global warming and public health is so ambiguous.
The good news: climate change can be solved outside of our healthcare system.
Consider that the concentration of the six most dangerous airborne particles has fallen remarkably since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, a law that had little to do with the CDC.
Americans are no longer breathing deadly lead fumes like they used to.
That’s good from both a climate and a health perspective: the annual rate of new lung cancer cases has fallen from 70 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 53 per 100,000 in 2019.
Additionally, in the seven decades since the Clean Air Act went into effect, we have nearly tripled GDP while reducing our overall energy spending by half.
Our economy has become increasingly independent of oil and coal as fuels for economic growth, significantly reducing the actual contribution of the United States to overall global warming.
We know how to grow our economy, improve the disposable incomes of almost all Americans, with less and less fossil fuel consumption, even when the contribution of wind and solar energy to those gains has been negligible.
Congress would do well to remember all of this before attempting to blame global warming on the public health authorities.
The CDC’s focus on its core mission will help agency staff prepare for the next public health threat and ensure that decades of progress in climate protection continues unabated.
Carl Schramm is an Associate Professor at Syracuse University and a member of the COVID Crisis Group. Adjusted for Senate testimony of April 26.