What is a Fair and Ethical Reduction of Carbon Emissions for Nations to Meet their Climate Change Responsibilities?

Do US GHG Emissions Commitments Pass Ethical Scrutiny? (Ethics and Climate, Jun. 16, 2015)
Now that the Pope’s encyclical has made ethics a major consideration for addressing climate change, the question is asked what level of reduction of carbon emissions is fair and ethical in order to keep the earth’s atmosphere below the accepted 2 degrees of warming? As 5% of the world’s population, the USA’s share of the required 270 gigatons carbon reduction would be 13.5 Gtc compared to the current emission rate of 1.44 Gtc/year and this, in turn, would point to a 95% reduction by 2050, not the 80% pledged by the USA in 2014. And this does not include the ethical issues of responsibility for the fate of developing countries which did not play a significant role by their carbon emissions in getting to the state of the world we are now in. Other developed countries with high emission rates need to consider their fair share as well, in the days and months leading up to the agreement on emission rates expected at the UN’s climate conference in Paris in December 2015.

Carbon emissions from various global regions d...

Carbon emissions from various global regions during the period 1800–2000 AD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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When to Apply Maximum Charges to Relieve Congestion?

A Bathtub Model of Downtown Traffic Congestion ( 8 page pdf, Richard Arnott, ACCESS, University of California, Jun. 10, 2015)
Today we review an analysis of the degree of congestion as a function of the timing of commuting and how applying a congestion charge can alter the flow sufficiently to allow free flowing traffic. This approach is called the bathtub model as it resembles the flow of water through a drain- as the water depth builds up the drainage rate increases up to a critical point when it decreases. In the same way, traffic reaches full congestion and then the flow slows down. Applying higher tolls as the traffic begins to reach the critical point reduces the traffic density and allows the flow to increase again.

bathtub graph

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A Guide to Implement Congestion Charging

Introduction to Congestion Charging: A Guide for Practitioners in Developing Cities  (58 page pdf, Dirk Van Amelsfort and Viktoria Swedish, the Asian Development Bank,  2015)

Today we review a comprehensive guide that describes the various steps necessary to develop and then implement a successful congestion charging system, borrowing on examples of established systems in Stockholm, London and Singapore, among others. Although aimed at developing countries, many of the principles and preparations needed are common to the developed world as well – such as, being prepared with responses to eight objections or concerns often made to any such scheme. The underlying objective has to include elements of fairness of application, as well as environmental and economic benefits with as few exemptions to being charged as possible.

acceptance levels

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Monitoring local energy use from space

Holidays in lights: tracking cultural patterns in demand for energy services (39 page pdf, Miguel O. Román and Eleanor C. Stokes, Earth’s Future , Jun. 2, 2015)

Today we review research aimed at monitoring various cultural responses at the city or neighbourhood scale level in different societies to efforts to reduce electrical power use from carbon fuel sources. The authors made us of three years of daily high resolution satellite data which showed different usage patterns based on different religious holidays (such as Christmas among Christians and Ramadan among Muslins). There appears to be potential for application of this technique to observe human behavior response in other countries world-wide.

Holidays in lights

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How Do Electric Fields under High Voltage Power Lines Compare to Those Near Highways?

Comparison of charged nanoparticle concentrations near busy roads and overhead high-voltage power lines (Abstract, E.R. Jayaratne, X. Ling, L. Morawska, May 28, 2015)

Also discussed here: Roadside air can be more charged than under a high-voltage power line (Science Daily, May 28, 2015)
Today we review research from Brisbane, Australia, comparing the number of charged particles emitted by vehicles near highways to what is found under power lines. Results indicate more than twice as many charged vehicles near roads. The charges alone do not present a health hazard but the fact that the particulates are charged means that they adhere more closely to the lungs when they are breathed in – and this as earlier research has shown presents a number of health impacts which would be increased by the electrical charging.

freeway electric field

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Can Vitamin E Reduce the Impact of Particulate Matter on the Lungs?

Circulating Levels of Antioxidant Vitamins Correlate with Better Lung Function and Reduced Exposure to Ambient Pollution (Abstract, Cristina Menni, Sarah J. Metrustry, Robert P. Mohney, Sean Beevers, Ben Barratt, Tim D. Spector, Frank J. Kelly, and Ana M. Valdes, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, May 15, 2015)

Also discussed here: Link between vitamin E, exposure to air pollution (ScienceDaily, May 15, 2015)

And here: Can vitamin E protect lungs from air pollution? (Indo-Asian News Service, May 15, 2015)

Today we review research into the role that vitamins plays in lessening the damage to the lungs that particulate matter plays through oxidative attacks. Results indicate that higher exposure to PM 2.5 and PM10 had lower levels of vitamin E and lower levels of lung function.

lungs-main

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Exposure of New Born Babies to Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Perinatal Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Atopy at 1 Year of Age in a Multi-Center Canadian Birth Cohort Study (32 pge pdf, Hind Sbihi, Ryan W. Allen, Allan Becker, Jeffrey R. Brook, Piush Mandhane, James A. Scott, Malcolm R. Sears, Padmaja Subbarao, Tim K. Takaro, Stuart E. Turvey, and Michael Brauer, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 31, 2015)

Also discussed here: Exposure to air pollution in the first year of life increases risk for allergies (ScienceDaily, May 4, 2015)

Today we review research into the impact of short and longer term exposure to traffic related pollution on one year old babies. Results indicate a greater risk of allergies, especially for those who did not attend daycares with older children who seem to offer protection.

Mast cells are involved in allergy. Allergies ...

Mast cells are involved in allergy. Allergies such as pollen allergy are related to the antibody known as IgE. Like other antibodies, each IgE antibody is specific; one acts against oak pollen, another against ragweed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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