“in just the first year that these [CO2] standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided — and those numbers will go up from there.”
This was a diversionary tactic to conflate CO2 with the actual "carbon pollution" of atmospheric particulate matter, to deflect criticism from Obama's draconian CO2 proposals that will have no effect on climate. Carbon dioxide levels in each breath humans exhale are more than 100 times higher than levels in the environment, and have nothing to do with asthma or heart attacks [which even the EPA* admits].
Particulate matter has been linked by EPA-sponsored research to asthma and heart attacks, although the data is controversial. However, even if particulate matter is related to asthma, existing clean air laws on the books have already reduced particulate matter to levels far below the national standards set by the EPA, as shown in the graphs below.
For particulate matter of 2.5 microns size, existing clean air regulations reduced national levels from 2000-2012 by 33% to more than one standard deviation below the national standards set by the EPA.
For particulate matter of 10 microns size, existing clean air regulations reduced national levels from 1990-2012 by 39% to more than two standard deviations below the national standards set by the EPA.
It is clear that existing regulations on particulate matter have already cleaned up the particulate emissions that matter for public health, and that adding Obama's unnecessary and expensive regulations on CO2 will not have any effect on public health or climate, at great harm to the economy.
Particulate matter data from the EPA:
Using a nationwide network of monitoring sites, EPA has developed ambient air quality trends for particle pollution, also called Particulate Matter (PM). Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets and reviews national air quality standards for PM. Air quality monitors measure concentrations of PM throughout the country. EPA, state, tribal and local agencies use that data to ensure that PM in the air is at levels that protect public health and the environment. Nationally, average PM concentrations have decreased over the years. For information on PM standards, sources, health effects, and programs to reduce PM, please see www.epa.gov/airquality/particlepollution.
How to Interpret the Graphs
View the chart data in Microsoft Excel (Download Excel Viewer)
View the chart data in HTML (New window opens)
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*74 Fed. Reg. 18901, EPA: GHGs "do not cause direct adverse effects such as respiratory or toxic effects.”