The Washington Times - December 9, 2009, 07:57AM



Watch out, folks! Climate change is making plant life grow at a faster rate, thanks to the uptick in the pollen count, according to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Oh the horror! Dr. Gupta seems genuinely concerned about longer and earlier allergy seasons, lung disease, and cardiovascular disease. In the end, he attributes the health concerns from pollen to climate change.

Unfortunately, this can only mean that busy bodies are just waiting to levy agriculture and subsidize taxpayer ailments. Moreover, it is the environmentalists who are usually complaining about plant life being cut down. Apparently, this group has issues making up their minds. Video above and  Transcript below (bolding is mine)

CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. 

As the climate change takes center stage in Copenhagen, the Environmental Protection Agency is also bringing the focus back home. EPA chief Lisa Jackson says the United States is facing a, quote, “real public health threat” from greenhouse gas emissions in our own country. 

We’re paging Dr. Gupta this morning, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, in Atlanta for us. And, Sanjay, how serious a health risk are we talking about when it comes to climate change? 

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I’ve interviewed Lisa Jackson about this, and she — she said it’s one of the biggest public health risks as well. But one of the issues here is that we’re talking about incremental changes, incremental increases in — in these various risks. 

There’s been a lot of data linking greenhouse gases to things like asthma, cardiovascular disease, lung disease overall. There was an interesting new study that came out. I was really fascinated by this, talking about its link to allergies overall. There’s about 36 million people who have allergies, and they can be pretty profound. 

But what they speculate happens here, as you get more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, more carbon dioxide, you’re in effect sort of juicing various plants out there that make pollen. So it’s — in essence, you got more carbon dioxide out there and it eventually leads to more pollen. 

That — that’s something that they think is happening right now and it’s leading to both more — more powerful or — or serious allergy seasons and longer allergy seasons as well. So, that’s one example of what happens, that sort of that — that cycle of things, Kiran. 

CHETRY: Wow! That’s — that’s really interesting to think about. But a lot of people say, all right, so what can we do to make this better? I mean, we’re seeing this climate change conference taking place in Copenhagen. It takes so many people and so many nations to agree to sign on to even some of the small changes. So what can we do here at home? 

GUPTA: Yes, well, I mean — and — and there’s probably more things that you can do within your own home and — more on an individual level than you can do globally or even nationally right now. So — so things that you can do as far as allergies go, specifically, you got to really think about the fact that there’s more pollen. 

If you have serious allergies, this is something that you’d tried to treat in the past, you can try and obviously decrease the amount of pollen in the home, some simple tips like keeping the doors closed, changing your clothing when you get inside. Stay in door peak times, usually at 10:00 to 4:00 and being vigilant about checking pollen counts overall. That simple stuff. 

But Kiran, you know, this idea that, you know, you have longer springs that you — than you used to, this idea that, you know, I don’t remember getting allergies at this time of year. It seems like it’s coming earlier than it used to. That could possibly be happening. Some of the researchers that we talked to say over decades now you do have these longer allergy seasons. 

So, I think more than anything else, it’s something to sort of pay attention to. If your allergies came at a certain time when you’re, you know, 10, 15 years ago, it could be coming a bit earlier now than in years’ past. 

CHETRY: All right. Sanjay Gupta for us this morning. Thanks so much.