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For Immediate Release
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Philadelphia Joins Urgent Call for National Action on Climate Change

City Faces Increases in Respiratory Illnesses, Heat-related Deaths


Philadelphia has joined more than 20 other U.S. cities in supporting the use of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to head off catastrophic climate change. Philadelphia's city council, in passing a resolution Thursday, is the 24th city to join the Center for Biological Diversity's national Clean Air Cities campaign.

"The facts speak for themselves--climate change is real and can no longer be swept under the rug," said Blondell Reynolds Brown, the Philadelphia City Council member who introduced the resolution. "The issue at hand is about the future: What kind of world are we going to leave behind for our children? With this resolution, Philadelphia is proud to join 23 other municipalities across the country calling on the EPA to work quickly to reduce greenhouse gas pollution."

"Philadelphia's top leaders recognize the gravity of the global climate crisis, the particular challenges the city will face, and supports one key solution: the Clean Air Act," said Rose Braz, the Center's climate campaign director. "Two dozen cities around the country, from Seattle to Salt Lake City to Pittsburgh -- and now Philadelphia -- are sending an urgent message to our national leaders: To avert a climate catastrophe, we need to act now."

Climate change in Pennsylvania will cause more heat-related deaths and an increase in ground-level ozone, which is linked to higher incidences of respiratory disease and death, according to a 2009 report from the Environment and Natural Resources Institute at Pennsylvania State University. The report also predicted that climate change will harm the state's water quality and biodiversity and may increase the risk of water-borne disease.

Asthma is already a significant public health problem in Philadelphia. One recent study conducted by researchers with the Drexel University School of Public Health and the Clean Air Council suggests that asthma is significantly more common in South Philadelphia than in the nation as a whole.

The Center's Clean Air Cities campaign is working across the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and its ability to reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The resolutions call on President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to address climate change.

Similar resolutions have been approved in Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Seattle, Wash.; Kansas City, Mo.; Albany, N.Y.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boone, N.C.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Tampa and Pinecrest, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Cambridge, Mass.; Madison and Milwaukee, Wis.; and Arcata, Richmond, Berkeley, Oxnard, Santa Cruz and Santa Monica, Calif. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Center's Clean Air Cities campaign and get the facts about the Clean Air Act.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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