Climate Action and Child Health

Nancy Danoff, MD, FAAP
Washington Pediatricians for Climate Action

Thank you to all WCAAP members who took action to support bills affecting climate and child health this past legislative session.  All these bills will help improve indoor and outdoor air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to cleaner energy sources and/or help in planning municipal projects that affect the environment.  In so doing, they will help to reduce the severity of pediatric respiratory conditions like asthma, allergies, and viral infections.

Here is a brief summary of the bills that passed the Senate and House and have been signed into law:

  • HB 1663 reduces methane emissions from landfills by requiring certain owners or operators to install methane gas capture systems to collect gas at a rate that complies with surface methane emission limits.  Because landfill components like food scraps, grass clippings and paper generate methane when they decompose, landfills produce a significant amount of this greenhouse gas.  It has a short half-life, so reducing methane emissions can reduce global warming in the near-term. 
  • SB 5042 extends the time period required to review growth planning decisions to 60 days.  This law allows decision makers sufficient time to assess thoroughly the impacts that proposed development and/or changes in designation of agricultural, forest or mineral resource lands will have on natural resources, ecosystems and habitats.
  • SB 5722 reduces greenhouse emissions in buildings by encouraging owners of small commercial and large multifamily buildings to optimize energy use and reduce pollution.  It will give them access to technical and financial assistance, with priority for under-resourced buildings.
  • HB 1644 allows using the transportation vehicle fund to plan for electric and other cleaner student transportation vehicles and fueling station infrastructure.

To learn more about Washington Pediatricians for Climate Action, visit Home | pedsforclimateaction.