How is Ontario Meeting its Plans to Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Ontario’s Climate Change Update 2014 (42 page pdf, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Oct. 2014)
Also discussed here: Ontario Targets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Jennifer Kalnins Temple, Envirolaw, Oct. 3, 2014)
Today we review a report from Canada’s largest province on how it is meeting climate plan commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2012 and how it intends to reduce these further by 80% by 2050. Unlike the federal government and the City of Ottawa which chose the easier reference year of 2005, the province assesses its progress relative to emissions in 1990, the reference year set by the United Nations in its Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol to 2012 which is to be updated at the Paris climate conference in 2015. To date Ontario has reduced its emissions by 6% which, in absolute terms, is the greatest reduction of any province in Canada and just ahead of Quebec. The gains came from improvements on electrical generation from a switch from coal. For the future, the biggest emitting sectors are industry and transportation.
ghg emissions for provinces
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How Much of a Health Threat is it to Live Near a Highway?

Residential Proximity to Major Roadways and Prevalent Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative San Diego Cohort (12 page pdf, Kipruto Kirwa, Melissa N. Eliot, Yi Wang, Marc A. Adams, Cindy G. Morgan, Jacqueline Kerr , Gregory J. Norman, Charles B. Eaton, Matthew A. Allison and Gregory A. Wellenius, J Am Heart Assoc., Oct. 1, 2014)

Also discussed here: Hypertension risk rises closer to major roadways (ScienceDaily, Oct. 1, 2014)

And here: Living Near a Highway May Be Bad for Your Blood Pressure (MedlinePLus, Oct. 1, 2014)
Today we review research into the possible links between the prevalence of hypertension for older women (average age 65) and how far they live from a busy roadway or highway. Results indicate that women living within 100 m of a busy road have a 22% higher risk of developing high blood pressure which equates to aging two additional years, compared to women living more than 1000 m from a busy road. The reason for hypertension which affects 1/3 of the USA population may be either noise or air pollution related to emissions from traffic or both.

distance to highway

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What is the Health Impact from Short Term Exposure to a Combination of Air Pollutants?

A Comparison of Risk Estimates for the Effect of Short-Term Exposure to PM, NO2 and CO on Cardiovascular Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Visits: Effect Size Modeling of Study Findings (14 page pdf, Ellen Kirrane, David Svendsgaard, Mary Ross, Barbara Buckley, Allen Davis, Doug Johns 1, Dennis Kotchmar, Thomas C. Long, Thomas J. Luben, Genee Smith and Lindsay Wichers Stanek, Atmopshere, Dec. 6, 2011)

Today we review research that statistically examines the degree to which one pollutant in combination with one or two others (CO, NO2 and PM) on a short term basis (a few days after exposure) affects health impacts and how much correlation exists between pollutants in causing these impacts. Results indicate that there is an association between NO2 and PM as one might expect this from transportation emissions and also the association between NO2 and cardiovascular diseases. The authors recommend a greater density of monitors to measure the pollutant concentrations and to isolate the influence of each.

PM CO and NO2 correlations

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What Impact Does Increased Natural Gas from Fracking have on Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions?

The effect of natural gas supply on US renewable energy and CO2 emissions (9 page pdf, Christine Shearer, John Bistline, Mason Inman and Steven J Davis, Environmental Research Letters, Sep. 24, 2014)

Today we review research that examines the impact of increased natural gas supplies for electrical generation in the USA as one factor among the existence of a strict or absent climate policy, the emergence of renewable energy sources and the net impact of CO2 emissions between now and 2055. Given the advantage in terms of lower carbon emissions from natural gas compared to coal (which is used for almost 50% of the energy used to generate electricity in the USA), hydraulic fracking is seen as a bridge toward a lower carbon future. However, the likelihood of increased leakage of greenhouse gases from fracking offsets this advantage, even if natural gas emissions are less dangerous in health terms than coal emissions (fine particulate matter). The paper points out that the key factor is a strict climate policy as, without it, a switch to ample natural gas may increase the cumulative emissions over the next 40 years. Also, an increase in natural gas from fracking would tend to reduce the growth of renewable energy sources with zero carbon emissions, such as solar and wind.

fracking and co2 emissions

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World-wide Causes of Death from Climate Change to the Mid 21st century

Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s (128 page pdf, Editors: Simon Hales, Sari Kovats, Simon Lloyd, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, World Health Organization, Sep. 21, 2014)

Also discussed here: Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s (Press Release, WHO, Sep. 21, 2014)

Today we review an updated estimate of the impact of climate change on health by the World Health Organization. Not including deaths from extreme events, the WHO estimates that an additional 241,000 deaths per year by 2030 (rising to 250,000 /yr to 2050) will be caused by climate change impacts that include under-nutrition of children, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress for the elderly. The greatest impacts geographically are in southeast Asia and India with significant impacts also in central and southeast Africa and southeast USA. Because of sea level rise brought about by climate warming and sea ice melt, coastal floods caused by cyclones. While reductions in emissions and mitigation may reduce some of the impacts, deaths from heat exposure and stress are expected to continue to rise above 100,000/yr by 2050.

world map excessive deaths

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What is the Answer to Avoiding Urban Congestion and Traffic-Related Air Pollution that accompanies Increased Car Dependence?

Cars Will Cook the Planet Absent Shift to Public Transportation – By making it easier to walk, cycle or take the bus, the world cut pollution by 40 percent  (Julia Pyper, ClimateWire, Sep. 17, 2014)
Today we review a paper that examines the trend toward increased urban car use, the consequences in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and the opportunities that exist to reduce these emissions. Under the “high shift” scenario, urban transportation emissions could be reduced by 40% world-wide with savings of $100 trillion in operating and infrastructure costs. Putting more funding into public transit is not necessarily the best way to make these savings, but rather investments to promote cycling and walking.

English: Graph of CO2 emissions by city for th...

English: Graph of CO2 emissions by city for the year 1995. Graph created by me from data published in Kenworthy, JR (2002) Transport Energy Use and Greenhouse Gases in Urban Passenger Transport Systems: A Study of 84 Global Cities / Millennium Cities Database UITP KENWORTHY JR* (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Healthy is it to Live Near Natural Gas Wells being Fracked?

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania (28 page pdf, Peter M. Rabinowitz, Ilya B. Slizovskiy, Vanessa Lamers, Sally J. Trufan, Theodore R. Holford, James D. Dziura, Peter N. Peduzzi, Michael J. Kane, John S. Reif, Theresa R. Weiss, and Meredith H. Stowe, Environmental Health Perspectives, Sep. 10, 2014)

Also discussed here: People Who Live Near Fracking More Likely To Become Sick, Study Finds (Emily Atkin, ThinkProgress, Sep. 10, 2014)

And here: An Evaluation of Water Quality in Private Drinking Water Wells Near Natural Gas Extraction Sites in the Barnett Shale Formation (Abstract, Brian E. Fontenot, Laura R. Hunt, Zacariah L. Hildenbrand, Doug D. Carlton Jr., Hyppolite Oka, Jayme L. Walton, Dan Hopkins, Alexandra Osorio, Bryan Bjorndal, Qinhong H. Hu, and Kevin A. Schug, Environmental Science and Technology, Jul. 25, 2013)

Today we review ground-breaking (literally) research into the potential health impacts for those who live near natural gas wells being drilled using fracking which involves the injection of large amounts of water and solvents into the earth. Results indicated that 39% of people within 0.6 miles of the wells reported respiratory problems compared to only 18% of those who live more than 1.2 miles away. Other studies indicate the presence of certain poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, selenium and strontium near fracking wells which exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards. The authors recommend more studies into this issue.

fracking cancer
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