What is the Impact of Air Pollution on the World- Present and Future?

The Economic Consequences of Outdoor Air Pollution (20 page pdf, OECD, Jun. 9. 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution to cause 6-9 million premature deaths and cost 1% GDP by 2060 (OECD Press Release, , Jun. 9. 2016)

Today we review a report from the OECD which estimates the impact of air pollution in terms of economic costs and on health costs and premature lives lost. Global costs are expected to rise from $21B in 2015 to $176B in 2060 (in constant 2010 dollars). The number of lost sick days which affects productivity is expected to rise from 1.2 B to 3.7 B in 2060. The number of premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution is expected to rise from 3 million in 2015 to 6-9 million in 2060. Policies to address this include incentives aimed at technology to reduce vehicle emissions, the implementation of improved air quality standards and introduction of emission/congestion/road pricing. The highest per capita costs are found in China, followed by Korea, Eastern Europe and the Caspian region and this is also where premature deaths per capita are highest.

oecd impacts

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How Does the Cost of Urban Sprawl Compare Internationally?

Sprawl Tax: How the US stacks up internationally  ( Joe Cortright, City Commentary, Jun.7, 2016)

Also discussed here: Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity (Abstract, Stephen J. Redding, Matthew A. Turner, National Bureau of Economic Research, Jun. 2014)

Today we review a comparison of the costs of sprawl in terms of extra transportation costs for commuting and added time in traffic. Results show that the average daily commute time in the US and Canada is well above (50-62 minutes) that of 17 countries in Europe. As a percent of household income transportation costs are highest for the US at 18% (or $1,500/household )followed by Austria, Canada and Portugal at 15-16% and an average of 12.8% overall (where the higher fuel prices in Europe are countered by the longer commute trips in the US and Canada).

sprawl tax

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Ontario’s Climate Action Plan from 2016 to 2020

Ontario’s Five Year Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020 (Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Jun. 8, 2016)

Also discussed here: Five things you need to know about how Ontario’s climate change action plan will affect your life (Financial Post, Jun. 8, 2016)

And here: Ontario’s climate change action plan: what it needs to succeed  (Mike Crawley, CBC News, Jun. 8, 2016)

ontario emissions 2013

Today we review Ontario’s first climate action plan with targets for the period 2016-2020. The planned GHG reductions fall within a plan to reduce overall emissions by 15% by 2020, 37% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 with most of the reductions coming from three sectors with 85% of current (2013) emissions: transportation (35%), industry (28%) and buildings (19%). Although Ontario is approaching carbon pricing in a different way (Cap and Trade) than British Columbia did 8 years ago using a revenue-neutral carbon tax,  a similar approach is to require all municipalities to produce a climate mitigation and adaptation plan. The BC approach is expected to reduce B.C.’s emissions in 2020 by up to three million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, roughly the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions created by 787,000 cars per year. Revenue from carbon tax itself $500M/year,  was returned to taxpayers who pay less than any other provincial taxpayers in Canada.  In addition, the serious way that Ontario is approaching the need for electric vehicles through incentives for new e-cars and for many new charging stations gives some assurance that both the carbon pollutants and toxic air emissions from today’s cars and trucks will be reduced.

  1. Under Transportation:
  • incentives for e-vehicles ($140-160M)
  • more charging stations ($80M)
  1. Under Buildings
  • Incentives for heat pumps and geothermal ($500-600M)
  • Free energy audits ($200-250M)
  1. Municipal Land Use Planning
  • greenhouse gas pollution reduction challenge fund or program.($250-300M)
  • make climate change mitigation and adaptation mandatory in municipal official plans.”
  1. R&D
  • Create a Global Centre for Low Carbon Mobility ($100-140M)

Other actions are planned for agriculture, industry and in collaboration with the federal government..


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What Must Farmers do to Meet Emission Targets?

Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet the 2°C target (19 page pdf, E. Wollenberg, M. Richards, P. Smith, P. Havlík, M. Obersteiner, F.N. Tubiello, M. Herold, P. Gerber, S. Carter, A. Reisinger, D. van Vuuren, A. Dickie, H. Neufeldt, B.O. Sander, R. Wassmann, R. Sommer, J.E. Amonette, A. Falcucci, M. Herrero, C. Opio, R. Roman-Cuesta, E. Stehfest, H. Westhoek, I. Ortiz-Monasterio, T. Sapkota, M.C. Rufino, P.K. Thornton, L. Verchot, P.C. West, J.-F. Soussana, T. Baedeker, M. Sadler, S. Vermeulen, B.M. Campbell, Global Change Biology, May 17, 2016)

Also discussed here: New study sets climate target for agriculture (IIASA  News, May 17, 2016)

Today we review an assessment of approaches voluntarily proposed by 119 nations as Nationally Determined Contributions for COP21 in Paris to mitigate non CO2 emissions from the agricultural sector.  Currently available approaches would deliver as little as 21% of the mitigation required to meet the 2 Deg C goal by 2030. The authors call for a range of innovative methods including carbon pricing, sequestering soil carbon and shifting dietary patterns and breeding cattle to produce less methane. Although agriculture is rural, some cities such as Ottawa, Canada contain more farmland (40% of rural area or 300,000 acres) and so must face up to the challenges in reducing greenhouse gases in this sector, as well as in transportation and the heating and cooling of buildings- and make this part of  urban climate action plans.

cattle emissions

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How Does Air Pollution Cause Hypertension and Heart Attacks?

Associations of Short-Term and Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollutants With Hypertension A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (16 page pdf, Yuanyuan Cai, Bo Zhang, Weixia Ke, Baixiang Feng, Hualiang Lin, Jianpeng Xiao, Weilin Zeng, Xing Li, Jun Tao, Zuyao Yang, Wenjun Ma, Tao Liu, Hypertension, Jun. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants (Science Daily, May 31, 2016)

Today we review a meta-analysis of the links between high blood pressure and hypertension which lead to the number one cause of death in the world, cardiovascular disease, with air pollutants for both short and long term exposure. Results indicate short term exposure ot particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and sulphur dioxide (associated with diesel vehicle emissions and coal burning) as well as long term exposure to nitrogen dioxide and PM10 (associated with vehicle emissions) are linked to a higher risk of hypertension. The mechanisms that lead to hypertension include inflammation and oxidative stress from exposure to air pollutants as well as imbalance of the nervous system from particulates.

English: Main complications of persistent high...

English: Main complications of persistent high blood pressure. Sources are found in main article: Wikipedia:Hypertension#Complications. To discuss image, please see Template_talk:Häggström diagrams. To edit, please use the svg version, convert to png and update both versions online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How do Special Interests Hold Back Progress on Climate Change?

Dislocated interests and climate change (5 page pdf, Steven J Davis and Noah Diffenbaugh, Environmental Research Letters, May 31, 2016)

Today we review a very pertinent analysis of costs and benefits as applied to climate impacts and national (and corporate) interests and how the concentration of short term, local benefits is separated in time and space with longer term impacts. As a concluding sentence in the article reads: “the most problematic dislocations of interests are where benefits are concentrated in time, space, and parties”. Often too, the profits from fossil fuels accrue to corporations in developed countries while the impacts fall mainly on developing countries and governments. Attempts to recover these costs get bogged down in a lack of international mechanisms to deal with them either through the World Trade Organization, World Bank or the International Framework on Climate Change and climate agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 or the Paris Agreement of 2015 – all of which point to the need for a greater definition and recognition of these special needs in addressing climate change.

special interests and cl ch

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How Does Particulate Pollution Affect the Calcification of Arteries?

English: Coronary circulation, with coronary a...

English: Coronary circulation, with coronary arteries labeled in red text and other landmarks in blue text. This vector graphics image was originally created with Adobe Illustrator, and modified with Inkscape. 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Association between air pollution and coronary artery calcification within six metropolitan areas in the USA (the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution): a longitudinal cohort study (Abstract, 1 page pdf, Joel D Kaufman, Sara D Adar, R Graham Barr,  Matthew Budoff, Gregory L Burke, Cynthia L Curl,  Martha L Daviglus,  Ana V Diez Roux, Amanda J Gassett,  David R Jacobs Jr, Prof Richard Kronmal, Timothy V Larson, Ana Navas-Acien, Casey Olives, Paul D Sampson, Lianne Sheppard, David S Siscovick,  James H Stein, Adam A Szpiro,  Karol E Watson, The Lancet, May 24, 2016

Also discussed here: Decade-long study shows how air pollution is killing you (ZME Science, May 26, 2016)

Today we review research conducted over a decade on the biological impacts of  traffic-related air pollution (PM2.5 and NOx)  on the arteries which in turn results in a higher risk of heart attack.. Results indicate  coronary calcium increased with increases in PM2.5 by 4.1 Agaston units/yr and in NOx by 4.8 Agaston units/yr. The authors suggest that increases in traffic related pollution especially in urban areas world-wide can be associated with increased cardiovascular diseases.

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