Monday, July 28, 2014

Tampa doctor to speak at EPA public hearing on cutting carbon dioxide by 30% in Atlanta

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM

click to enlarge Dr. Lynn Ringenberg
  • Dr. Lynn Ringenberg
This coming week the Environmental Protection Agency will be conducting public hearings regarding their proposal to cut the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide by 30 percent by 2030 in four American cities, the closest one to the Tampa Bay area being Atlanta.

Among those scheduled to speak will be Tampa resident Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at USF and the co-founder of the Tampa Bay branch of  Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Tampa Bay. She told CL last week that she intends to speak about her concerns about the deleterious affects that carbon emissions have had on children's health.

"I think that cutting coal pollution is going to really improve children’s health and especially that of infants and young children, so that’s really going to be my thrust," she says. " When I started practice, I didn’t see that many kids with bad asthma. Fast forward 30 years and there are so many kids with respiratory problems, and asthma, upper respiratory, allergies ... kids are on three or four different medications just to help them breathe."

Ringerberg says such problems aren't solely attributable to greenhouse gas emission, but believes it definitely contributes."This is evidence now that this does damage the lungs in children." 

Florida has 15 coal-fired power plants, but most of them reside in North Florida, with the state getting much of their energy these days from natural gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, the state gets 62 percent of its energy from natural gas, 21 percent from coal, 12 percent from nuclear and 2.2 percent from renewable sources (it doesn't list where the remaining 2.8 percent comes from).

"I don't know why we're not talking about more solar and energy efficiency in Florida," says Ringenberg, a familiar complaint by frankly most people not associated with the utility companies or the Public Service Commission in Florida. "I mean, natural gas is a carbon fuel, and it contributes to climate change/global warming, as much if not sometimes more with the methane, as does coal. We really have to figure out a way to eventually get off of carbon as a fuel," she adds.

Later this year Ringerberg will become president-elect of the national office of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization that she is proud to be a part of. "What got me into PSR is it’s for all health professionals, not just physicians," she says, adding that "Everything that we do in PSR is evidence-based and scientific. It's medical. it’s evidence-based advocacy."

On Wednesday night, Dr. Ringenberg will take part in a panel discussion after the screening of Transforming Energy, an award-winning documentary about the hope of alternative energy as a solution to the problems of global warming. That takes place at 7 p.m. at the Unity of Tampa church at 3302 W. Horatio.

The other locations where the EPA will be holding hearings this week will be in  Washington D.C., Denver, and Pittsburgh.

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