President Obama says climate change first became a personal issue for him when his 16-year-old daughter was rushed to the hospital 12 years ago after suffering from an asthma attack.
“What I can relate to is the fear a parent has, when your 4-year-old daughter comes up to you and says, ‘Daddy, I’m having trouble breathing.’ The fright you feel is terrible,” the president told ABC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
“And if we can make sure that our responses to the environment are reducing those incidents, that’s something that I think every parent would wish for,” Mr. Obama said. “And the good news is there are concrete steps we can take to do something about it.”
The White House announced this week a series of initiatives to deal with the impact of climate change on public health, including the upcoming White House Climate Change and Health Summit, ABC News reported.
“I think we’ve always known — or at least in the 20th century we’ve understood — that environment has an impact on public health,” the president said Tuesday during an open table discussion at Howard University.
“I remember when I first went to college in Los Angeles in 1979, the air was so bad that you couldn’t go running outside,” Mr. Obama said. “You’d have air quality alerts, and people who had respiratory problems or were vulnerable had to stay inside. We took action, and the air’s a lot better.”