The “Weather Penalty”:How Does It Affect the Health Impact of Air Pollution?

The impact of weather changes on air quality and health in the United States in 1994–2012 (12 page pdf, Iny Jhun, BrentACoull, Joel Schwartz, Bryan Hubbell and Petros Koutrakis, Environ. Res. Lett., Aug. 12, 2015)

Today we review research in to the ways that various weather parameters affects air quality and what this means in terms of additional deaths, as analyzed over a period of eight years in the USA. Windspeed and temperature were considered the most important. Results indicate that often a given parameter has opposite effects on the degree of air pollution- for example, warmer temperatures can both increase and reduce the production of ozone. The annual average weather penalty was estimated as 290 deaths due to O3 and 770 deaths related to PM.

o3 and pm and weather

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Using Congestion Pricing to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Research on Urban Road Congestion Pricing Strategy Considering Carbon Dioxide Emissions (20 page pdf, Yitian Wang, Zixuan Peng, Keming Wang, Xiaolin Song, Baozhen Yao, and Tao Feng, Sustainability, Aug. 6, 2015)

Today we review research into models of congestion pricing to reduce both traffic congestion and the emissions that are produced by stop and go traffic- something that is not usually considered when planning congestion pricing because of the difficulty in measuring actual road emissions. The fact that road emissions make up 80% of transportation GHG emissions makes this assessment very important when emission reduction, especially in cities, is the goal. Results indicate that achieving both objectives is feasible with emissions falling by 19%, and modal car use falling from 70% to 56% with increased use of public transit.

congestion pricing and ghgs

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How Should Countries Take Responsibility for Climate Change for Both Past and Future GHG Emissions?

Allocating a 2°C cumulative carbon budget to countries (10 page pdf, Renaud Gignac and H Damon Matthews, Environ. Res. Lett., Jun. 19, 2015)

Today we review a very timely analysis and proposition concerning the equitable sharing of the carbon debt that needs to be paid off in order for the world to meet the objective of limiting climate warming to 2 deg C or 450 ppme by 2050 which is the objective of the climate conference to be held in Paris in December 2015. The authors estimated past CO2 emissions from the nations of the world, noting the top ten emitters were United States, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Indonesia and Canada (where the roles of USA and Russia stand out). The turning to the carbon debt as a result of future emissions projected with climate modeling from now to 2050 (where the current peak emissions from the USA and China stand out). Commitments stated by some countries in advance of the conference fall well short of the combined carbon debt but the approach presents the benefit of an objective sharing of responsibility for reaching the target. Further refinement is needed to move beyond CO2 emissions to include other greenhouse gases.

resp for cl ch

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The Main Question for Urban Planners to Resolve- Sprawl or Densification?

Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates (32 page pdf, Greg Clark, Emily Moir, Urban Land Institute, Jun. 23, 2015)
Also discussed here: Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates (Catherine Anderson , Urban Land Institute, Jun. 23, 2015)

A compact city tends to be more environmentally sustainable and has generally cleaner air than one that is spread out with emphasis on making it easier for people to drive to the centre of town with emphasis on roads wherever it allows them to drive more quickly. Today we review a research paper that examines the meaning(s) of urban density, explores the many myths about sprawl and intensification and suggests better designed and more sustainable cities for the future. Cities are categorized in terms of the density of their urban core, inner city and suburbs as Low-High-Low (typical of Europe), Low-Low-Low (typical of sprawled cities in USA/Canada/Australia), Low-Low-High (Toronto, Oslo), Medium-High- High (developing world cities). High density cities enjoy a number of advantages over low density ones, including walkability, natural habitats and economic waste disposal but fears of lower livability, traffic congestion and noise/pollution in high density cities need to be mitigated. Oslo and Toronto are seen as large cities where the balance is more nearly found.

Although an important factor, there is a compl...

Although an important factor, there is a complex relationship between urban densities and car use. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Avoid, Shift, Improve” – Decarbonizing Quebec’s Transportation Sector

Energy policy 2016-2025 – Decarbonization of Road Transport (73 page pdf, Gouvernement du Québec Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, 2015)
Today we review a background paper prepared by the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, outlining plans to reduce the emission of carbon emissions by the transportation sector in that province, 76% of which comes from road transport. Recognizing that 99% of the province’s energy is produced from renewable energy sources, principally hydro, the main emphasis of the Avoid, Shift, and Improve plan, is on reducing travel in privately owned vehicles, shifting to use of a 95% electrified public transit and improving engine efficiency and increase the use of non carbon biofuels, propane and natural gas. Encouragement to convert to hybrid or totally electric vehicles (18% or 1.2 million by 2020 from under 6,000 today), and make more use of shared cars with an eye toward driverless or autonomous cars in the future that make fewer demands on the road infrastructure.

transit quebec

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How Does Traffic Related Air Pollution Affect Children’s Health?

Blood Pressure and Same-Day Exposure to Air Pollution at School: Associations with Nano-Sized to Coarse PM in Children (6 page pdf, Nicky Pieters, Gudrun Koppen, Martine Van Poppel, Sofie De Prins, Bianca Cox, Evi Dons, Vera Nelen, Luc Int Panis, Michelle Plusquin, Greet Schoeters, and Tim S. Nawrot, Environmental Health Perspectives, Jul. 2015)
Today we review research into the links between short term exposure to particulate matter of various sizes and impacts on blood pressure of school-age children who are particularly vulnerable because their higher breathing rate, as well as their generally greater activity than older people. Results indicate a clear association with Ultra Fine Particulates (diameter 20-30 nm) and higher blood pressure. In addition, repeated exposure to particulates may result in long-term chronically elevated pressures, as well as a chronic increase in arterial stiffness in children due to traffic-related air pollution.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

English: Southern end of the High Street, Keyn...
English: Southern end of the High Street, Keynsham, on a busy Saturday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Links between Air Pollution and Premature Deaths in the Netherlands

Air Pollution and Mortality in Seven Million Adults: The Dutch Environmental Longitudinal Study (DUELS) (8 page pdf, Paul H. Fischer, Marten Marra, Caroline B. Ameling, Gerard Hoek, Rob Beelen, Kees de Hoogh, Oscar Breugelmans, Hanneke Kruize, Nicole A.H. Janssen, and Danny Houthuijs, Environmental Health Perspectives, Jul. 2015)

Today we review research into the links between mortality of the adult Dutch population and exposure to NO2 and PM10 that establishes a new basis for that country. Results indicate a higher general mortality association with PM10 than previously estimated and with NO2 for all mortality except circulatory disease.

netherlands no2 pm

Key Quotes:

“In this large Dutch nationwide population cohort of > 7 million adults we observed positive significant associations between estimated long-term exposure to air pollution (PM10 and NO2) at the home address and nonaccidental, circulatory disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer mortality”

“the median PM10 concentration was 29 μg/m3 [5th–95th percentile, 24 μg/m3–32 μg/m3; interquartile range (IQR) = 2.4]; the median NO2 concentration was 31 μg/m3 (5th–95th percentile, 19 μg/m3–44 μg/m3; IQR = 10.0 μg/m3). We estimated HRs per 10-μg/m3 increase in the pollutant concentration..the range (and IQR) in NO2 concentrations is larger than the range in PM10 concentrations, because NO2 is more influenced by local (traffic) emissions than PM10, which is more affected by long-range transport.”
“we found particulate matter to be associated with all outcome measures that we have analyzed. Our relative risk estimate for PM10 on total mortality is higher than the relative risk estimate from a recent published study based on 19 European cohorts”
“For NO2 we found statistically significant associations with all outcomes except for circulatory disease mortality”
“Our estimates for lung cancer mortality for PM10 and NO2 are higher than those published recently in the national cohorts”


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