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For Immediate Release, June 27, 2012

Contact: Rose Braz, (510) 435-6809

Los Angeles Joins Urgent Call for Action on Global Climate Crisis

America's Second-largest City Calls on Obama, EPA to Use Clean Air Act to Avert Climate Disaster

LOS ANGELES— In the wake of a new UCLA study predicting more intense and numerous heat waves for Southern California, Los Angeles today joined more than 25 other U.S. cities in urging President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take action on global warming through the Clean Air Act. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution seeking protections for air quality and reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. Los Angeles is the 28th city to join the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign. Others include Chicago, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Tampa.

“Los Angeles supports the Clean Air Act, and we want to see this landmark environmental law used to tackle greenhouse gas pollution,” said Paul Koretz, the Los Angeles councilmember who introduced the resolution. “Our city has been a leader in the fight against climate change, and we’re proud to back federal efforts to reduce global warming hazards.”

City councils representing more than 12 million people across the country have joined the call for action on climate change.

“L.A.’s leaders recognize that climate change will cause serious harm to California’s environment and public health, and they support a key solution in the Clean Air Act,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “Cities around the country, from Seattle to Pittsburgh — and now Los Angeles — are sending an urgent message to our president and other national leaders: To avert a climate catastrophe, we need to act now.”

The first five months of 2012 were the hottest start to a year in U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Arctic monitoring stations also recently reported that carbon dioxide levels in the region have reached 400 parts per million — a milestone that underscores the risks of greenhouse gas pollution. Leading climate scientists say CO2 concentrations should be reduced to 350 ppm to avoid catastrophic, irreversible impacts. The Clean Air Act is one of the most powerful existing laws available for reducing carbon pollution to safer levels.

A new UCLA study released last week projects that climate change will triple the number of days above 95 degrees in downtown Los Angeles. The number of high-temperature days will quadruple in portions of the San Fernando Valley and rise five-fold in an area of the High Desert in L.A. County. The projections are for 2041 to 2060.

Higher temperatures are expected to cause more heat-related deaths and an increase in ground-level ozone, which is linked to increased incidence of respiratory disease and death. Approximately 1.25 million children and adults in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with asthma, according to data from the California Health Interview Survey.

The Clean Air Act has protected the air we breathe for four decades. By curbing air pollution, it is responsible for dramatically reducing dangerous pollutants such as lead, sulfur dioxide and fine particulates. The Act has saved many thousands of lives, improving health and decreasing hospitalizations, curbing illnesses such as cancer and asthma and reducing lost school and work days.

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working across the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and reducing carbon levels to 350 parts per million.

Similar resolutions have been approved in Tampa, Gulfport and Pinecrest, Fla.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.; Seattle, Wash.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.; Albany, N.Y.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boulder, Colo.; Boone, N.C.; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Penn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Cambridge and North Hampton, 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.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 375,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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