What if you could make it easier for a child to breathe? What if the child were your own and unable to play outdoors due to prolonged and worsening allergy seasons? What if the unpredictability of weather patterns made it hard for your child to play outdoor sports safely or displaced your family from your child’s home and school?

Today’s report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that if global carbon emissions continue at the current rate, these questions will be our reality by as early as 2030. In fact, for some children with severe asthma and allergies it is already a reality.

The World Health Organization states that climate change is the biggest threat to human health in this century. Children will shoulder 88 percent of the health burden of climate change. Today’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics help us to understand how science must be factored into the market economy, including the cost of carbon on our children’s health.

Individual efforts to reduce carbon footprints are laudable but not enough to reverse the current carbon emissions trend. We urgently need a larger solution. The Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal supported by Citizen’s Climate Lobby is such a solution. This proposal has bipartisan support from climate scientists, meteorologists, small and large business owners, teachers, physicians, former Cabinet members and (yes) children.

As a pediatrician, I believe this proposal deserves urgent attention from our elected officials. I urge concerned citizens to contact your state and federal elected officials on both sides of the aisle today to respectfully and urgently ask for legislation to reduce carbon emissions. If we do nothing, the physical and mental health of our children and grandchildren will pay the price.

Dr. Lisa Stukenberg

Lake Mills

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