What is the Role for Business in Addressing Climate Change?

Climate Change’s Bottom Line (Burt Helm, New York Times, Jan. 31, 2015)

Also discussed here:  RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (56 page pdf, Risky Business Project, Jun. 2014)

And here: Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest (58 page pdf, Risky Business Project, Jan. 23, 2015)

And here: Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change (662 page pdf, Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, Oct. 30, 2006)

Today we review the work of the “Risky Business Project” which was formed by a group of high level business and political leaders in the USA who wish to examine the probably outcomes of continued inaction on climate change by their country (and the world) while calling for the need to adapt to and minimize those changes. Unlike most environmental issues which have been addressed by going to government action from problem identification, research and policy based on scientific evidence, climate change has been portrayed as an attack on personal liberty through increased government control, camouflaged as denial of the science.

The Risky Business project aims to swing the consensus in the USA from a debate on the science to a consensus based on evidence of economic impacts focused on regional assessments and both on the short and long term. A report similar to the Stern report for the UK estimates $15.8B economic impacts for the USA by 2100. If the Project succeeds in showing how climate change hits the pocket book and business profits, maybe we’ll see that long delayed and necessary action by business, the public sector and government.

climatic extremes and the new normal

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Estimating Health Risks from Air Pollution Using Fixed Sites or Personal Monitors

Estimating risk of emergency room visits for asthma from personal versus fixed site measurements of NO2  (6 page pdf, Scott Weichenthal, Patrick Bélisle, Eric Lavigne, Paul J. Villeneuve, Amanda Wheeler, Xiaohong Xu, Lawrence Joseph, Environmental Research, Feb. 2015)
Today we review research from Windsor, Ontario which compared the exposure to NO2 from an Ogawa personal exposure meter to daily exposure estimated from a fixed nearby measurement site, part of the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) network and in reference to emergency asthmatic cases. Results indicated that next to zero correlation between the two values from a sample of almost 1,000 measurements. The authors concluded that more attention must be paid to how exposure to pollution is estimated for risk estimates in epidemiological studies. This has significant implications for urban air quality network design as well.

 

An air quality measurement station in Edinburg...

An air quality measurement station in Edinburgh, Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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A Check List for Managing Urban Air Quality

Growing Public Health Concerns from Poor Urban Air Quality: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living (9 page pdf, Bhaskar Kura, Suruchi Verma, Elena Ajdari, Amrita Iyer, Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, Apr. 2013)

Today we review a paper that zeroes in on the issue of urban air pollution and its health impacts, identifying which pollutants cause the greatest harm and what to do about that in terms of identifying and controlling pollution sources. Given that a million premature deaths and another million pre-native deaths are linked to urban air pollution, along with 2-5% GDP costs for developed and developing countries respectively, much more attention is needed at the municipal level now.

urban aq manageemnt

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How Can Smart Phones Measure Exposure to Air Pollution?

Using Personal Sensors to Assess the Exposome and Acute Health Effects  (15 page pdf, Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Maria Foraster, David Martinez and Andres Cisneros, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Aug. 6, 2014)

Also discussed here: Variability in and Agreement between Modelled and Personal Continuously Measured Black Carbon Levels Using Novel Smartphone and Sensor Technologies ( Abstract, Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Ioar Rivas , Montserrat de Castro, Marta Cirach, Gerard Hoek, Edmund Seto, Michael Jerrett, Jordi Sunyer, Environ Sci Technol, Jan. 26, 2015)

And here: Researchers detect students are exposed to high levels of air pollution during trips to school (Press Release, CREAL, Jan. 29, 2015)

Today we review research into the personal exposure of students during the day to air pollution, using a smart-phone and various sensors stashed away in a backpack carried by the students. Results indicates that pollution levels on the way to school were twice as high as at home largely because of the closer proximity to vehicle emissions. cell phone aq

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Is there a Link between Air Pollution and Stress?

Associations between air pollution and perceived stress: the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study (23 page pdf, Amar J Mehta, Laura D Kubzansky, Brent A Coull, Itai Kloog, Petros Koutrakis , Avron Spiro III, Pantel Vokonas, Joel Schwartz, Environmental Health, Jan. 27, 2015)

Today we review research conducted in the Boston area with white older men whose exposure to air pollution was averaged over one to 4 weeks over a period of 12 years and compared with a stress index, Perceived Stress Scale, for the previous week. Stress has been found to be associated with depression and depression with a greater risk of heart disease and death. Results indicate a strong association with the vehicle emissions, such as PM 2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particularly in colder months of the year, when higher admissions to emergency for depression take place.

stress and AQ

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How Will Europe Meet its 2030 Renewable Energy Goal?

Implementing the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Frame-work – a closer look at renewables and opportunities for an Energy Union  (14 page pdf, Anne Held, Mario Ragwitz; Gustav Resch, Lukas Liebmann, Fabio Genoese, Intelligent Energy – Europe, ALTENER, Dec.8, 2014)

Today we review a discussion paper that examines the changes facing the EU in achieving a 27% increase in the share of renewable energies while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % before 2030, only 15 years away. Among the factors considered are the declining need for energy efficiencies or at least for financial renumeration as technology improves and matures, the need for states within the EU to consider implementing joint or regional plans to take advantage of and lessen negative impacts of border states.

EU renew energy

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How Has Germany Improved Its Air Quality?

Clean Air – Made in Germany (50 page pdf, Federal Environment Agency of Germany, Nov. 2014)

Today we review measures undertaken by the national and municipal governments of Germany over the last decade or two to reduce air pollution particularly in its cities and particularly from transportation although initiatives are also in place to deal with wood combustion and ammonia from emissions from agriculture. Specific measures include Low Emission Zones and application of road pricing, restrictions for parking and lower speed limits of 30 kph on major roads. The result is that air quality in German cities today are as high as in rural areas 20 years ago. Future challenges include reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet EU targets and reducing NO2 and PM emissions from diesel powered vehicles.

low emission zones berlin

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